Skip to main content

Full text of "Memoirs of Alessandro Tassoni : author of La secchia rapita or, The rape of the bucket : interspersed with occasional notices of his literary contemporaries, and a general outline of his various works : also an appendix containing biographical sketches of Ottavio Rinuccini, Galileo Galilei, Gabriello Chiabrera, Battista Guarini, and an inedited poem of Torquato Tasso : with additional notes, and the author's preface"

See other formats

.WW Is 



t< G ^ <p 

av ^r-. 

^ a\ 

^•J-^NV . ^ 

■-^i^^-' ^ 



'^'-^^^^i^^^:;-^^) r^ 

"'o ' " 

^ V 

*' '^o 


^ ^^■^ 




" '^ / 

^S^?^^/. ^'^^ 

,0 o 





V 1 

B « ^ 

• ^ 




£^ "ci>^ 


-^^^ v^^ 

'=, -;::t:.' 






' ^G 

^ ' J 






\^ '/^,- 

I -- >' 



•0' ^ 


v, £j -S. ^V ■<? » 



c-^V^, ^ --^^ O^' 

\\ . ^ ' 8 >V 

v^^ -n^t. 

■^ §fl P;?»>^ 

|»r^o A 

\ ^ ,. ^ v^> 


^ ' ,'\ 




^:/- .v-v 

>^^ ^^ 


v\' > 


o^ -// 

-X" <. 

^' ' msi^ 





Greville Street, Hatton Garden, London. 

Sa>n.^ Wk^/Ce-r- c^ei , 






Occasional Notices of his Literary Contemporari es, 
and a general Outline of his various Works ; 



©lograpljical fefeetcfie^ 




^tiHitional iJ5otei5, anti t^e a;ut|^or'0 IPreface; 



Honorary Member of the Societies of Dublin and Perth, and of the Academies 
of Cortona, Rome, Florence, &c. 



- — " Aliri ne vidi, a cui la lingua 
'' Lancia, e spada fu sempre, e scudo, ed elmo." 

Petrarca, Trion/o d'Amore, c. iv. i< 36. 






Knight of the Garter y S^c, Sfc. Sfc. 








%\}i^ ^O0tfiumou0 (Eolume, 









Dublin, Feb. 1814. 



It will be necessary to explain to the public, why 
the Memoirs of Tassoni have been introduced into 
the world, not by the Author himself, but, by an 
Editor; — and, when they are informed that the 
task of Editor has devolved upon the only surviving 
Brother of the Author, it may naturally be conceived 
how painful that task has been, which has occa- 
sioned the revival of those many endearing moments 
of happy intercourse, (which can, alas! return no 
more !) with a beloved and affectionate brother, 
during the progress of the work; and, also, the 
recollection of the anxious hope the Author enter- 
tained of surviving its publication, — an hope which, 
it is now the painful duty of the Editor to say, 
was not realized! — although, had it been the will 
of Heaven to have spared him a little time longer, 
that wish, at least, might have been accomplished ; 
for, at the moment of the melancholy event of his 
decease, little remained to be done, except the com- 
pletion of the Preface, and the announcement of 
his intended Dedication to the Nobleman who has 


since condescended, in the most gracious manner, 
to grant the protection of his name to this little 
monument of the Author's genius. 

The work itself had been finished, and the MS. 
deposited by the Author in the hands of the Publisher 
a short time previous to his decease. 

Of the Preface, some fragments were found 
amongst his papers, which shall be here given to 
the public in their original words ; at least, so far 
as they can be collected and collated ; for, in some 
instances, the materials found were mere fragments ; 
in fact, rather sketches for a Preface, than a Preface 
itself. The deficiencies, however, so far as the 
Editor of these pages is capable, shall be supplied ; 
and, where that cannot be done to the full extent 
of what the Author intended, the Editor shall, at 
least, hope for the indulgence of the public. 

Conscious that, in giving this work to the world, 
the Editor is only carrying into effect what had 
been the fond intention and the anxious wish of the 
Author, he would hence feel it little short of crimi- 
nality as a man, and still more so as a brother, 
were he to have swerved from this point of his 
duty, although he feels himself incompetent to exe- 
cute the task in a manner suitable to the subject. 
Thus, he waves all personal considerations for him- 
self, and all those apprehensions which so naturally 
present themselves to a person appearing, for the first 


time, before the tribunal of the public, even in the 
humble capacity of an Editor : but, a further motive 
pressed upon his mind, as it offered an opportunity of 
ciarrying into execution that other wish, already al- 
luded to, vi'hich his grateful brother had most deeply 
at heart, that of dedicating this, his last literary la- 
bour, to the Earl of Carlisle, and of laying a copy 
of the work at his Lordship's feet, as a tribute of the 
deep sense of gratitude he felt for the innumerable 
favours conferred upon him by that illustrious, learned, 
and accomplished Nobleman. 

The Editor has, in his own person, to acknowledge 
the gracious acquiescence of that Nobleman, in a 
Letter couched in language not less beautiful than 
pathetic; in truth, in language which could only 
be dictated by the most feeling, and, at the same 
time, by the most amiable heart ; thus, continuing his 
Lordship's predilection for his departed Brother, even 
to his very Tomb ! For this act of condescension in 
bis Lordship, the Editor's humble thanks are due, 
and are here offered. 

It might, perhaps, be expected, that the Editor 
of the Memoirs of Tassoni should have given, at 
the same time, a Memoir of the Author ; but, from 
a variety of motives, he would not presume to 
undertake such a task, although, he confesses, it was 
his wish that an extended Memoir should have been 
given : but it was his intention to have confided that 


task to some person more capable of doing justice 
to the memory of his brother. 

On the 12th of April, 1810, the hand of death 
closed at once the life and labours of our Author, 
and made it necessary for the Editor of the Memoirs 
of Tassoni to take upon him the present painful office! 
The melancholy event here alluded to, was not a 
sudden, although, alas ! not a sufficiently protracted 
event! Death had been making its approaches for 
several years previous to the afflicting day which 
is here mentioned ; and had often permitted its fated 
object to enjoy intervals of ease from absolute sick- 
ness or pain, so as to allow him, at those intervals, 
to participate in that description of literary society 
which was so congenial wath his elegant and accom- 
plished mind. This state of declining, but wavering 
health, has been pathetically alluded to by a friend, 
in the following stanza of a Monody, dedicated to his 

" Ah ! long the sable -whigs of Fate were seen, 
" Waving, portentous, o'er thy vital ray; 

*' Yet still, each drear and darksome pause between, 
*' It seem'd a cheerful radiance to display !" 

The mournful distress of that awful day was 
too great, and the wounds of the heart too deep, 
to admit of an only brother attempting any public 
record, at the very moment of the melancholy event ! 
or, indeed, of evincing any other memorial of his 


loss than such as was to be found in the deep 
affliction of his heart ! However, the Author of the 
Memoirs of Tassoni had too many affectionate and 
attached friends to suffer the event of his decease to 
pass unnoticed or unrecorded ! 

On the next succeeding day, a pathetic and de- 
scriptive detail of the melancholy occurrence was 
announced in a Dublin periodical paper ; and, 
shortly afterwards, the following Memorial of friend- 
ship appeared in a London publication. 

" His saltern accumulem donis, etfungar inani munere" 
" April 12 (1810), Died at St. Valeri, near Bray, 
'^ Ireland, after a lingering and painful illness, which 
" he bore with the patience and resignation of a 
^' Christian, Joseph Cooper Walker, Esq., member 
*' of many literary and philosophical societies. The 
" loss of this accomplished scholar will be long 
" and deeply deplored by all true votaries of science 
" and the fine arts ; but those only who have had 
" the happiness to be included in the circle of his 
^* friends, can justly appreciate and duly regret the 
" many virtues which dignified, and the numerous 
^' graces which adorned, his character. Never was 
" there any man who united, in an higher degree, 
" the accomplishments of the gentleman with the 
" attainments of the scholar. His polished man- 
" ners, his refined sentiments, his easy flow of wit, 

xii THE editor's preface. 

" his classical taste, and his profound erudition, 
" rendered his conversation as fascinating as it was 
" instructive. The rare qualities of his heart pro- 
" cured for him the most devoted attachment of 
" relatives and friends, the affectionate regards of 
" all who knew him. A frame of peculiar delicacy 
" incapacitated Mr. Walker for the exercise of an 
" active profession, and early withdrew his mind 
" from the busy bustle of the world, to the more 
" congenial occupation of literary retirement. The 
" intervals of exemption from pain and sickness, 
" which are usually passed in languor or in plea- 
" sure, were by him devoted to the cultivation of 
" those favourite departments of literature to which 
" he was guided, not less by natural taste than 
" by early association. To seek for that best of 
^' blessings — health, which his own climate denied 
" him, Mr. W. was induced to travel. The ardent 
" mind of this young enthusiast in the cause of 
" letters, which had drunk deep from the classic 
" fountains of antiquity, and had imbibed the most 
" profound admiration for the heroes and the sages 
*' of old, regretted not his constitutional debility, 
" but seized the occasion which invited him to that 
" sacred theatre on which the greatest characters 
" had figured, and the noblest works had been 
" achieved. He visited Italy ; he embraced with 
^* enthusiasm that nurse of arts and of arras ; he 


" trod with devotion her classic ground, consecrated 

** by the ashes of heroes, and immortalized by the 

*' effusions of poets ; he studied her language, he 

" observed her customs and her manners; he ad- 

" mired the inimitable remains of ancient art, and 

" mourned over the monuments of modern degra- 

" dation ; he conversed with her learned men ; he 

" was enrolled in her academies, and became almost 

** naturalized to the country. Mr. W.'s mind having 

** taken this early direction, the study of Italian 

" literature became his favourite pursuit, and, to 

" his latest hour, continued to be his occupation 

" and his solace. But, though thus attached to the 

" literature of Italy, Mr. W. was not regardless of 

" his native land. At a period when it is fashion- 

" able to be altogether English, this true patriot 

" felt and avowed his ardent attachment to, and 

" decided preference for, the country of his birth. 

** The first fruits of his genius were offered on the 

" altar of his country. He devoted the earliest 

" efforts of his comprehensive mind to vindicate the 

" injured character, and to enlighten the disputed 

*' history, of Ireland. He dwelt with delight on her 

" wild romantic scenery ; he loved the generous, 

" though eccentric character of her children ; the 

" native language of Ireland to his ears was full 

" of harmony and force ; and the songs of her bards 

" filled his patriotic soul with rapturous emotion* 


" He was, indeed, an Irishman of Ireland's purest 

" times. As a critic and an antiquary, Mr. W. 

** was equally distinguished. In his masterly deli- 

" neatiori of the revival, progress, and perfection 

" of the Italian drama, the muse of Italian tragedy 

" appears with new grace, attired in an English 

" dress. As the restorer of the literary commerce 

" between England and Italy, almost closed since 

" the time of Milton, the name of Walker will be 

" added to those of Roscoe and Matthias. His 

" Essays on the customs and institutions of ancient 

*' Ireland are written in the true spirit of a native 

" historian, and, as they are eminently useful to the 

" antiquary, must be singularly interesting to ever}'- 

" Irish breast. These, his earliest works, (the ofF- 

" spring of his vigorous mind, at a period when 

" young men are not yet emancipated from the ty- 

" ranny of pupilage,) evince a maturity of judgment, 

" a soundness of criticism, and a range of learning, 

" which would not disgrace the name of the vene- 

" rable Vallancey. Mr. Walker returned from the 

" Continent little improved in health, but his mind 

" stored with the treasures of observation. He soon 

" retired from the turbulence of a city life, to the 

" tranquillity and pure air of his romantic villa 

" (St. Valeri), under the mountains of Wicklow. In 

" this lovely seclusion, where the sublime grandeur 

" of the distant view is finely contrasted by the 


" cultivated beauty of the nearer prospect, he found 
" a situation at once favourable to his invalid state, 
*' and in unison with his taste and pursuits. Still 
" a martyr to his constitutional * malady, he suffered 
'^ it neither to sour the unchangeable sweetness of 
" his temper, nor to relax the ardour with which 
" he pursued his studies. Though enjoying his 
*' seclusion, he was not deprived of the pleasures 
" of society : his solitude was enlivened by the occa- 
" sional visits of friends, and his connexion with 
*' the world of letters was kept up by an extensive 
" epistolary intercourse ; the literary traveller in- 
" terrupted his studies to admire the tasteful arrange- 
" ment of his Library, and enjoy the conversation 
" of its elegant owner. This valuable collection of 
" choice and rare books was, in part, the fruit of his 
" travels and researches, and was enriched by many 
" contributions from his learned friends : it was, in 
" truth, an honourable Monument of the taste and 
" learning of its master f. In that liberality of sen- 

* An acute asthma, 
t " It is to be lamented that such appropriate memorials of 
" departed genius should, so frequently, be violated by the ava- 
" rice or Gothic taste of those into whose possession they come. 
" In the present instance, however, Mr. Walker's valuable 
*' collection has descended to a spirit truly fraternal (Samuel 
" Walker, Esq.), who, with pious devotion to the memory of a 
" beloved brother, has determined to preserve, inviolate, the 
" Uterarj treasure. To this gentleman, we hope the world will 


" tiraent, and in that polish of manners, which is the 
" natural result of travel, and which an education 
" entirely domestic can seldom supply, as well also 
" as in his literary pursuits, Mr. Walker resembled 
" that accomplished nobleman the late Earl of 
" Charlemont, whose friendship he enjoyed whilst 
" living, and whose memory he cherished in death, 
" By the side of this enlightened patriot he walked 
" through the fertile fields of Italian literature, and 
" the more thorny paths of controverted antiquities, 
*' until the death of that venerable patriot deprived 
" Ireland of her truest friend and brightest orna- 
" ment. Mr. Walker did not long survive; but, 
" after a few years of mingled bodily pain and 
" mental enjoyment, followed to the grave this asso- 
" ciate of his literary labours. Mr. Walker was 
" in the 49th year of his age when he died ; and he 
" breathed his last sigh in the arms of a brother 
" and sister, whose peculiar sorrow seemed equally 
" to defy consolation and description. It will gratify 
" the admirers of Italian literature to learn, that 
** Mr. Walker has left them a valuable legacy in the 
** Life of Tassoni, which, though without his latest 

'* be, at some future day, indebted for the publication of the 
*' interesting Journal of his Travels, and such other written re- 
" mains of the late Mr, Walker as were in a fit state to meet 
** the public eye." 


" corrections, will add another wreath to the crown 
*■ which criticism has entwined for the Author of the 
" Memoirs on Italian Tragedy, and the Historical 
" Memoirs of the Irish Bards." 

The Editor has since learned, that he is indebted 
for both those kind memorials to the elegant pen, and 
the feeling heart, of an aflfectionate Relative, whose 
intimate acquaintance with the subject of his Memo- 
rials taught him to reverence the virtues, to admire 
the talents, and to feel the loss of his departed- 
friend ! 

The Editor cannot suppress his emotions af grati- 
tude to the author of those kind and affectionate 
tributes of friendship to the memory of his departed 
brother : There were few individuals for whom he 
felt an higher esteem and affection, than for that 
friend who has, since, evinced those tender marks of 
regard and respect for his memory : and it is, now, 
a circumstance most truly painful to the Editor of 
these pages, not to be, here, permitted to mention 
the name of this kind friend, as he would, thus, have 
had an opportunity of announcing to the world the 
very high opinion his departed brother entertained 
of the talents and genius of this amiable and learned 
young gentleman, whom, he early predicted, and was 
often heard to say, would, ere long, arrive at an 
elevated rank in that Profession which he has 
adopted for his future pursuit in life, 


The Letters of condolence addressed to St. Valerf, 
in consequence of the melancholy event which is 
here recorded, were not less numerous than kind and 

Were the Editor to submit to the impulse of his 
feelings, or obey the dictates of his gratitude, he 
would, here, make his public acknowledgments to 
each of those kind friends, individually ; but their 
number was so considerable, that he fears in doing 
so he might far exceed the narrow limits which 
he had prescribed to his present plan. He will, 
therefore, confine himself to the selection of a few, 
and shall beg permission from the writers of those 
Letters to convey their sentiments, through the medium 
of extracts, in their own words, as he could not, 
otherwise, so fully express the genuine dictates of 
their sympathy and friendship ; but although, for the 
reasons here given, he begs permission to select the 
Letters of £cfeiD friends only, yet to all, in general, he 
requests to offer his sincere and grateful thanks^ 

Doctor Robert Anderson, of Edinburgh, a name of 
great eminence, and justly celebrated in the literary 
world, an amiable and learned friend of the Author,, 
(who had been himself, about the same time, suffering 
under the weight of family affliction and sickness,) 
addressed the following letter to the Brother of his lost 

This letter is dated from the North of Ireland, 


where the Doctor had been on a visit with his learned 
friend Dr. Bourne, the Dean of Tuam. 


** Klldross, Cookstown, 21st Sept. 1810, 

" I CANNOT suffer Mr. C to return from* 

" this place to Dublin to-morrow, without charging 

** him with the conveyance of my too long delayed 

" and imperfect acknowledgment to you and Miss 

" Walker of my heartfelt sympathy and condolence 

" on the death of your excellent brother, my very 

" dear and highly valued friend ! When the account 

" of this melancholy event reached me, soon after 

*^ it happened, I was weakened by a tedious illness, 

" and sinking under a domestic calamity that bore 

'' with a heavy weight on my spirits : I had not' 

" received any epistolary communication from my 

" worthy and indulgent friend for a considerable 

" time ; but I was then indebted to him for two 

" very acceptable favours of a distant date, of 

" which I deferred the acknowledgment till I could 

" give a better account of my health and spirits. 

" When we are unwell, we are apt to procrastinate, 

" and time runs away like a thief. I had not 

" received the slightest intimation of my friend's 

" illness when I received the account of his death ! 

" Although you did not, in any way, communicate 
*' to me the heavy loss I sustained^ by the calamity 


" which deprived you and Miss Walker of the besi' 
" and most affectionate of brothers, yet I felt the 
" privation with the deepest sorrow, and showed my 
" respect for his memory, by having his death and 
" character properly announced in our newspapers, 
" &c. I have seen other notices from your quarter^ 
" more extended and more correct as to dates, &c., 
" but I wish to see a more ample and honourable 
" tribute to his memory, in a regular biography, 
" which you are best qualified to give. Mr. Boyd 
" has a poetical tribute ready for insertion in the 
" Belfast newspapers, which I am impatient to see. 
" As you were the friend and brother of his heart, 
" and the companion of his studies, I trust you 
" will be the faithful executor of his fame, and 
" preserve his literary remains. 

" I know not whether his biography of Tassoni 
" had passed through the press before his death, but 
" I trust it is forthcoming. All his friends will be 
" gratified to see the handsome manner in which 
" he is mentioned by Mr. Black, in his Life of 
*' Tasso : I wept to think that he did not live to 
" see it; but checked my weakness by reflecting, 
*' that he is now released from the weight of affliction 
" which oppressed, for many years, his delicate 
" frame ; and, after a life spent innocently, usefully, 
" and honourably, in the cultivation of elegant lite- 
" rature, and the practice of social virtue and active 


" benevolence, is enjoying the blessedness of Eter- 
" nity! 

" Of Joseph Cooper Walker it may be justly said, 
" that he was known to no one by whom his death 
" has not been lamented : — endeared as he was to 
" me by his virtues, and the interchange of reciprocal 
" amities, and much as I respected his attain- 
" ments as a classical and polite scholar, I never 
" desire to part with the remembrance of his loss ! 

" The kindness of my worthy friend, the Dean of 
" Tuam, has again drawn me across the Channel to 
" recruit my health and tranquillize my mind — 
" Vain hope ! He wishes me to accompany him to 
" Dublin on Monday sennight, for a day or two, 
" If I come, I will salute you in Eccles' Street. If 
" not, — farewell. 

" Accept for Mrs. Walker, your sister, and self, of 
*' the kindest wishes of your sincere friend, 


*' Samuel Walker, Esq., 

" Exarainator of Customs, 

*' Custom House, Dublin." 

As a further proof of the zealous friendship of 
that amiable and excellent man,' Dr. Anderson,, the 
Editor begs leave to introduce another Letter, upon 


the same subject, received from him shortly after 
his return to Edinburgh; in which, from motives 
of the purest kindness, he enclosed certain Extracts 
of notifications of the loss of his friend, alluded to 
in his former letter, conceiving, naturally, that it 
would be some consolation to the family of the 
Author of the Memoirs of Tassoni to find, that his 
decease was not either unnoticed or unlamented in 
that highly literary part of the British empire — Scot- 
land. The following is the Letter, accompanied by 
the Extracts, alluded to : — 

" WindnMll Street, Edinburgh, 
" 17th June, 1811. 
" I SEIZE with avidity the opportunity of 

our friend Mrs. B going to Dublin, to send 

you this note, merely to inquire after you and your 
amiable sister and family, and to renew the as- 
surance of my constant regard and cordial remem- 

" Since my return home, after a long absence 
in Ireland, I have been overwhelmed with business 
of one kind or other; but, amidst the studies I 
proposed to myself, I have had frequent occasion 
to refer to some* friendly notices from St. Valeri, 
and to regret the close of a correspondence which, 


^^ while it lasted, was very delightful and instructive 
** to me. 

" I am unwilling to open those wounds which 
" time, alone, can close ; but I expect to be forgiven 
*' for availing myself of a private conveyance, to 
** send you copies of one written and of two printed 
*^ testimonies of respect to the memory of your ex- 
" cellent brother. The one from my daughter, who 
*' naturally caught a portion of my affection for him, 
" and the other from my son-in-law, the learned 
" memorialist of Buchanan, and my own incidental 
*'• tribute of friendship. 

"" In your very interesting letter to me at KildrosSj 
" you gave me reason to expect it would be followed 
" by another epistolary communication from you, 
" on the subject of the biography of Tassoni, to 
" be accompanied by a printed copy of IVIr. Boyd's 
** elegiac tribute. I regret to say that I have not 
" heard from you ; but, it may be, you have addressed 
" Mr. Black, who has got the living of Coylton, in 
^* Ayrshire, at a great distance from Edinburgh. 

" It is a satisfaction to me, and to all your late 
" brother's friends in this place, to think, that the 
" friend and brother of his heart is the faithful 
" guardian and executor of his literary fame. We 
" look to you for the careful preservation of his lite- 
*' rary remains, and for the history of his life and 
*^ studies. 


"My daughter (Margaret) and Dr. and Mrs. Irving 
" unite their kindest regards to you and Mrs. Wal- 
" ker, and Miss Walker, with those of 

" .YQur sincere and affectionate friend, 


" 3amuei, Walker, Esq., 

" Examinator of Customs, 

" Custom House, Dubliu."^ 

^Extractfrom the Review of Mr. Black's Life of Tasso, 
inThe Edinburgh Magazine and Review/or^Mg-w*^, 
1810,^3/ Dr. Irving. 

" The literary history of Italy, which, at a very 

" recent period, was almost entirely neglected in 

" this island, has now become an object of general 

" curiosity. The attention of the public was first 

" attracted, in this direction, by the very ingenious 

" Mr. Roscoe ; an author who, to a sound and culti- 

" vated understanding, unites a correct and elegant 

" taste. The splendid exertions of this literary his- 

" torian have been ably seconded by his friend Mr. 

" Shepherd, who has been followed in the same tract 

" by Mr. Greswell and Mr. Walker. The last of 

" these writers has illustrated the History of the Ita- 

" lian Drama with much diligence and research. He 

" had completed an account of the Life and Writings 

" of Tassoni, but a premature death lately 'arrested 


'- him in the midst of his elegant labours. Mr. 
" ^Valker was a native of Ireland*." 

" t Note, page 113, in the 6th edition of Dr. An- 
« derson's LifeofSmolkt, 8vo. 1811." 

" * INIr. Walker died at St. Valerl, near Dublin, on the 12th 
" April, 1810. The elegant compliment which occurs in Mr. 
'' Black's Preface appeared too late to afford any gratification to 
" this amiable and accomplished man." 

* The literary courtesy of Joseph Cooper Walker, Esq. has 

* been recorded in many works ; and the author of these vo- 

* lumes has also to thank him for tliose zealous exertions which 

* he is ever ready to make in behalf of him who labours in any 

* department of literature, especially in that which his own 
' writings have contributed to promote.' 

" Besides contributing to the Transactions of the Royal Irish 
" Academy, Mr. Walker published the following works, in a 
" separate form: — 

*' 1st. Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards. Lond,1786. 4:to. 

" ^d. An Historical Essay on the Dress of the Ancient and 
*' Modern Irish; to which is subjoined, A Memoir on the Armour 
*' and Weapons of the Insh. Dublin, 178B. Ato, 

" 3d. An Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy. London, 
" 1799. 4to. 

*' 4th. An Historical and Critical Essay on the Revival of the 
'* Drama in Italy. Edinb. 1805. 8vo» 

" t Dr. Moore has overlooked a work with a similar title, not 
** unworthy of attention: The Progress of Romance through 
" Times, Countries, and Manners, <^c., in a Course of Evening 
" Conversations, by Clara Reeve, author of The English Baron, 
" ^c, in "2 vols. 8vo. 1785. 

^* An interleaved copy of this work, with many additions and 
** corrections, in the hand-writing of the Author, is in the valuabte 


The following is the extract from Miss Andersons 
letter, alluded to by her father, which she wrote to a 
distant friend, and which her kind father communi- 
cated to the writer of those lines by his letter from' 
Edinburgh, of 17th June, 1811, already noticed. 

This extract evinces a proof of the favourable 
opinion which that excellent man taught his family 
to entertain of his late friend ; or, to use his own 
words, in mentioning this circumstance of his daugh- 
ter, he describes her as one " who naturally caught 
" a portion of her father's affection for his friend/' 
The writer of those lines shall hope to obtain Miss 
Andersons pardon for introducing the following ex- 
tract in this place. He has only felt himself in any 
degree warranted in doing so, in consequence of 
its having been communicated to him through the 
medium of her amiable and highly respected father. 

Extract of a Letter from Miss Anderson to 
Mr. WiGHE, ofEdnam. 

'' 24th April, 1810. 
" My father was much affected the other day 
" by hearing of the death of an amiable friend, 

'' library of my late worthy and ingenious friend, Joseph C; 
" Walker, Esq., of St. Valeri, Author of Historical Memoir^ 
" of the Irish Bards, Essay on the Revival of the Drama in Ttaltf, 
" and other elegant performances, whose lamented death "his 
'*'' country, and more eminently his friends, so recently deplore.* 


" Mr. Joseph C. Walker, of St. Valeri, near Dublin. 

" Literature has lost in him a zealous votary; and 

" the blank which must be left in the circles of 

" friendship where he was honoured and beloved, 

" must be long felt and bewailed. His health has 

" been long declining, and he had only reached his 

" 49th year, when he was called away from this 

" transitory scene ! He was the author of several 

" ingenious performances, and he was preparing a 

" work for the press when his pen was laid aside for 

" ever ! He was liberal and communicative in open- 

" ing his hoards of literature to men who were 

*' engaged in similar pursuits. My father spent 

" some time at his delightful mansion, on his first 

"** visit to Ireland. From the picture which he drew 

" of the amiable master of St. Valeri, I felt for him 

" the highest respect and admiration. An aflfec- 

" tionate Sister, who was able to estimate his worth, 

*^ watched over him with assiduous care, and antici- 

" pated his wants and wishes. Of her regret and 

^' loneliness I cannot think without exquisite pain I 

" His complaint was an asthma, which I should 

" suppose to be very distressing: but the mildness 

" of his temper, and the fear of giving pain to his 

" friends, were finely exemplified in his long-suffering 

*' patience. My father now reproaches himself 
" for not having gone to see him when he was last 

xxviii THE editor's pueface, 

" in the north of Ireland. He was most solicitous 
" for him to come to St. Valeri ; but his own health 
" and spirits were then much exhausted, and he 
" cauld not encounter the gayety of Dublin. And 
" that opportunity has gone by, which can return 
" no more ! No future visitor at St. Valeri shall ever 
" meet the amiable and accomplished Joseph Cooper 
" Walker! He was anxious about the venerable 
*' Bishop of Dromore * . he little anticipated that he 
" should be first called away to that land where 
" anxiety and pain are felt no more ! " 

The Reverend Mr. Black, at this time of Edin- 
burgh, upon a communication to him of the melan- 
choly event of the loss of his friend, wrote the follow- 
ing letter in reply. 


« Edinburgh, 31st May, 1810. 

" I HAD the honour of receiving your letter 

" yesterday, confirming what I had before learned, 

" the intelligence of the death of your distinguished 

" and amiable brother, Mr. Joseph C. Walker. The 

" period of our correspondence had, indeed, been 

" short : but such was the frankness, the kindness, 

" and the generosity of his nature, that I already 

* Dr. Percy. 


*' regarded him as one of the most beloved and 
" firmest of my friends. 

" His correspondence, which had always been 
" precious, would now have been doubly dear to 
" me. A few days ago I received a presentation 
" to a living in Ayrshire, where, accordingly, I am 
" soon to have, as a clergyman, my fixed residence. 
" What pleasure would it have been to me to receive, 
" in rural seclusion, his long and pleasing letters; 
" to be animated by his zeal for literature, and en- 
*' lightened by his extensive information, when the 
" means of information will be, comparatively, little 
" in my power. 

*' By carrying into effect his views, both with 
" regard to Tassoni, and his other literary treasures, 
" you will not only act with piety toward a beloved 
" brother, but you will be doing service to the gene- 
" ral interests of literature. 

*• Entering as 1 am into a way of life for which I 
" have made little preparation, occupied with writing 
" discourses, &c., and removed into the country, I 
" shall, for a considerable time, be distracted by 
" avocations. But when I shall have attained some 
" tranquillity, and can again resume the pursuits 
*' of literature, you will not only do me an ho- 
" nour, but confer a benefit, by pointing out how I 
" may best testify my respect for the memory of 

lEXX THE editor's PREFACE. 

** Mr. Walker, by attention to any of his literary 
" remains. 

^v w "yP •?? T? 

" I have the honour to be,. 
1 " Dear Sir, 

" Your faithful humble servant, 


•* Samuel Walker, Esq., 

" Exanainator of Customs, 

*' Custom House, Dublin." 

This gentleman has eminently distinguished himself 
in the literary world, by the publication of his learned, 
his exquisitely interesting, and inestimable work. 
The Life of Tasso ; a publication which has ren- 
dered him not less an honour, than an ornament 
to his country. The Editor has to offer his grateful 
thanks to the Author of this erudite work, for the 
polite and handsome manner in which he has been 
pleased to mention the Author of the Memoirs of 
Tassoni ; and he begs leave, also, to subjoin acknow- 
ledgments, not less grateful, to that justly celebrated 
scholar, and profound critic. Dr. Irving, of Edin- 
burgh, who, in his learned and ingenious observations 
upon Mr. Black's Life of Tasso, has been pleased to 
honour the memory of his brother by those polite and 
friendly notices which have been here quoted. 

Shortly after the receipt of the foregoing letter, 


the writer of these pages had occasion to acknowledge 
the arrival at St. Valeri of a Parcel addressed to 
his late brother, which, when opened, was found to 
contain a presentation from Mr. Black of a copy 
of his admirable Life ofTasso, and was accompanied 
by another presentation from his learned and inge- 
nious friend Lord Woodhouselee, of a copy of his 
lordship's Historical and Critical Essay on the Life 
and Character of Petrarch. 

Had the Author of the Memoirs of Tassoni been 
spared a little time longer, he would have experienced 
an enjoyment in the perusal of those two inestimable 
works, which no pen but his own, would have been 
able to describe. 

In reply to an acknowledgment of the arrival 
of this highly valued Parcel, and a request to know 
from the kind donors their wishes as to the future 
disposal of its inestimable contents, (since the friend 
to whom they were addressed was, alas ! no more !) 
the following letter was received from Mr. Black : 


<* Edinburgh, 11th July, 1810. 

" When I received your very kind letter, I 

" was just about to go to the country, where my stay 

•' has been longer than I expected, and from which I 

" am just returned. I took the liberty of enclosing 

" it in a note to Lord WoodhouseleC; who wrote to 

XXXii THE editor's PRErACE. 

" me as follows : — ' I return you Mr. Samuel Wal- 

* ker's very pleasing and interesting letter, and 

* I have to beg, that when you write to him, you 

* will present my best respects to him, and offer 

* my sincere condolence with him on the death 

* of his worthy and excellent brother, with tlie 

* assurance, that if ever I again visit Ireland, I 
' shall with great pleasure accept of his friendly 

* invitation to>see him at St. Valeri.' 

" I am happy that the Petrarch and Tasso are 

" arrived at the place of their destination ; but regret 

" that you could have thought it possible that Lord 

" Woodhouselee or I could wish that destination 

" altered. I know not that his lordship would have 

" published his little volume, had not your brother 

*' spoken of it in high terms when in a less perfect 

" form ; and, as to my own work, it is not a present, 

" but the payment of a very trifling proportion of 

" a large debt. In placing those books in that spot 
" of his Library which had been allotted by your 

" brother to the tributes of esteem and friendship, 

" you will gratify Lord Woodhouselee * and myself 

" in a very high degree. 

* Since this letter was written, and a short time before those 
sheets went to press, the Editor received a letter from Mr. (now 
Dr.) Black, Avherein he mentions, with feelings of the deepest 
regret, the death of his learned and ingenious friend, Lord 


" My settlement in Ayrshire will take place about 
" the end .of September, but I leave town on the 
" 29th of; the present month. May I request that 
" you will, from time to time, communicate to me 
" what your intentions are with regard to the lite- 
" rary relics of your late brother ? Could you find 
" leisure to draw up a Memoir of his Life ? I have no 
" doubt his correspondence was extremely various 
" and interestins. 

He begs permission to use Dr. Black's own words, as 
being so pathetically and so emphatically descriptive of the 
loss he had sustained by the death of this amiable friend : — 
** Lord Woodhouselee died, after a severe illness, on the 5th 
*' Janiiary last (1813), and has not left behind him a person 
" with a more elegant mind, a kinder disposition, or a more 
** saintly purity of heart." 

Ill another part of the same letter, wherein the doctor 
alludes to his recent ecclesiastical appointment in Ayrshire, 
he adds — 

'* I enjoy, in my present rural retirement, considerable com- 
" fort and happiness ; and ray comparative seclusion from the 
" world has not, in the smallest degree, diminished my love of 
" literature, or zeal for its interests. You may judge, then, 
" what delight Tassoni, even abstractly considered, would 
*' give nie; and when to this are added the many claims it has 
** to my regard and attachment, it is impossible for me to 
" describe with what impatience I shall expect its publication." 


XXXiv THE editor's PREFACE. 

" My place of residence will not be stationary till 
" September, as I have several visits to pay: any 
" letter, however, which you may do me the honour 
" to write to me, will find me with the address of 
" Sundrum, Ayr. May I beg to be permitted to 
" offer my respectful compliments to your sister ? 

" I am, dear Sir, 

" Your very faithful servant, 


" Samuel WalkeA, Esq., 
*« &c. &c.'» 

The amiable and accomplished Sir Richard Clay- 
ton, Baronet, of Adlington, to whom the literary 
world are so much indebted for his various inesti- 
mable publications, was numbered amongst the friends 
of the Author of the Memoirs ofTassonL 

This learned gentleman had for several years cor- 
responded with him, and did not omit any opportunity 
of contributing, as far as lay in his power, to his lite- 
rary pursuits. 

It became a duty which the Editor owed to the 
kindness of this respected friend, to communicate 
to him that melancholy event which, while it de- 
prived him of a Brother, terminated, for every that in- 
teresting correspondence which had so long subsisted, 
between Adlington and St. Valeri ! 


The writer of these lines hopes Sir Richard Clay- 
ton will pardon him for introducing, in this place, 
an extract from that Letter of condolence with which 
he was pleased to honour him, in his reply to the 
painful communication here alluded to. In truth, he 
could not otherwise, than by adopting his own words, 
find language sufficiently strong to express the amia- 
bility of the writer's heart. 

" SIR, 

" Mr. H being in London, attending 

" his duty in parliament, I did not receive your very 

" kind and friendly letter till this morning. The 

" public papers had announced to me the melan- 

" choly event at St. Valeri ; and I calculated that 

" my inquiries after my dear and worthy friend 

" would reach St. Valeri when those inquiries would 

" be of no avail ! I have lost more than a common 

" acquaintance and correspondent, and a chasm has 

" opened on me which is never to be filled up ! Such 

" talents and such a character are not every day 

" exhibited : but it is the tenour of this life, if it 

" be itself extended, to see those amiable props on 

" which we have reposed, gradually slide from us. 

" You have every consolation in the recollection 

" of your brother's virtues, which will bloom without 

" ceasing in regions more congenial to them, — Ex- 

XXXvi THE editor's PREFACE. 

" cuse a tear that drops, — (it is the tear of sincere 
" regard!) — and believe me, 

" Sir, 
" With the greatest respect, 
" Your most obedient humble servant, 


« Adlington, 30th May, 1810." 

P. S. '• I need not,Jtrust, add my best respects to 
" your dear Sister, nor my condolence. Had I been 
" certain of your address, the whole family should 
*' have received the latter." 

" Samuel Walkeu, Esq., 
" &c. &c." 

The following letter from Robert Watson Wade, 
Esq., of London, written to our Author's Sister upon 
the melancholy occasion at present under considera- 
tion, is so descriptive of the character of her Brother, 
and marks, so strongly, that mutual attachment and 
affection which subsisted between these two friends, 
from their earliest days, that the writer of these 
lines is prompted . to entreat Mr. Wade's permission 
to allow him to introduce it in this place ; although, 
no doubt, he will feel considerable reluctance in 
doing so, as it was a mere hasty effusion of his grief. 


addressed to the family of his lost friend, and, of 
course, not intended to meet the public eye. 

" London, 31st May, 1810. 

" From the little correspondence I now 
" have with Ireland, it was only about ten days 
" ago that I received, through the medium of au 
" English provincial newspaper, the first intimation 
" of the melancholy event which your letter of the 
" 24th but too fully confirms ! .. 

" Since that time I daily intended to have written 
" to your brother Samuel on the occasion, and to have 
" offered ray condolence on an event so distressing 
" to us all ; but, judging from my own feelings, how 
*^ much more acute your's and his must have been, 
" I delayed writing. 

" An uninterrupted friendship of many years, 
" commencing with our earliest and happiest days, 
" gave me a fuller opportunity of knowing, and of 
" duly appreciating the character of my dear de- 
" parted friend, than, perhaps, most persons out of 
" the circle of his family could have. I therefore 
" feel and lament the loss of him most sensibly, 
** and may say, with sincerity, that I partake fully in 
" the grief which the loss of so worthy and so 
** amiable a man must inevitably occasion to those 
" more nearly connected with him. 

" As a scholar, the literary world, — as a worthy 


" domestic character, his sorrowing relations,— as a 
" friend, I in particular must long remember and 
" feel the loss of one whose only study seemed to be, 
" to render himself useful to society ; — of one beloved 
" by all who knew him intimately, and esteemed 
" by those who, not having the happiness of a closer 
" connexion with him, only had an opportunity of 
" judging of him by his many ingenious and judi- 
" cious works. 

" Ever ready to communicate to others the know- 
*' ledge he had so extensively acquired, he excited 
" in his countrymen a taste for literature, to which, 
" before his day, they were strangers. Untainted 
" with that jealousy often too prevalent in literary 
" characters, he freely pointed out to, and encouraged 
" others to pursue, the paths he so successfully trod ; 
" and I freely confess that, as our studies were con- 
'* genial ; I owe much of what little knowledge of the 
" Italian language I may have acquired, to a kind 
<* of friendly emulation of his superior attainments. 

" Some years back I fondly hoped to have been 
" able to enjoy the same kind of happy retirement 
" he was so fortunate as to accomplish for the latter 
" part of his life : but, indeed, I much fear that 
" a too constant application to his favourite studies 
" (although, perhaps, indulged in, from a wish to 
" alleviate sufferings occasioned by a long-continued 
" state of ill-health, and a habit of body always 


'* delicate,) may have contributed to hasten the 
" event we so deeply and so justly deplore! 

" I feel a melancholy pleasure in finding that 
" my dear friend's Library, in which he so much 
" delighted, is to be preserved in the family. It 
" must, from its variety and extent, be truly valu- 
" able, and should be carefully preserved, as a pre- 
" cious memorial of its late dear owner. 

" I am, my dear Miss Walker, 
" Very sincerely and affectionately yours, 

** Miss Walkeb, 
" St. Valeri, Bray." 

The Editor cannot mention the name of Robert 
Watson Wade, Esq., (M. R. I. A.) and Private 
Secretary to the Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer, 
without, at the same time, offering him the tribute 
of his heart, in acknowledging the obligations he feels 
towards him for his affectionate attentions to the 
memory of the Author of the Memoirs of Tassoni, 
his late dear friend! To this gentleman, (whose 
modesty prompted him to decline even the mention 
of his name,) the Editor is indebted for conducting 
the greater part of the present work through the 
press; and a resident in London, when the MS. 

xl THE editor's PREFACE. 

of the Memoirs of Tassoni was in the hands of the 
printer, he with promptitude, kindness, and, it may be 
added, affection, undertook the task of revising the 
press, superintending the engravings*, and in every 
possible way evinced a zeal and willingness to oblige, 
to an extent which the writer of these lines cannot 
find language to express : his public thanks are due 
to this kind friend, and he trusts he will accept of 
them as the offering of a sincere and grateful heart. 
The Editor has already mentioned, that a Memoir 

* Of the engravings, the Head of Tassoni prefixed to this 
work was done from a drawing made by the Editor, under the 
direction of his late brother, a few days previous to his decease, 
from an Head of Tassoni prefixed to the edition of La Secchia 
Rapita, printed at Modena, (1744), now in the Library of St. 

The pother engraving, of The Knight carrying the Trophy 
Bucket, was done from a very beautiful drawing made by 
Mr. W. Redmond, of Dublin, and obtained through the medium 
of the Editor's amiable and learned friend, and brother-in-law, 
Sir William Betham. 

It was the Editor's intention to have given an engraving of 
the Church and Steeple of Modena, (called by de la Lande 
La Guiklandina), where he describes (in his Voyage en 
Jtalie) the Trophy Bucket to have been suspended. — (See 
Memoirs of Tassoni, page 124).— But the Editor was unable to 
procure either a painting or a print view of that Church; and 
the unhappy and disturbed state of Italy, from the war, pre- 
cluded him from endeavouring to procure a drawing made by 
some person upon the spot. 

THE editor's preface, xU 

of the Author was intended to have been prefixed 
to the publication of the Memoirs of Tassoni ; and he 
had been solicited, by many of his friends, to become 
the biographer of his Brother : but he has already 
mentioned his motives for declining that undertaking. 
Besides, as a brother, he could not attempt a Memoir 
without breathing sentiments of, perhaps, too much 
partiality, in every line, when the object of it had 
been so near a relative, and so closely connected 
with his heart. — Under these circumstances, whilst 
he declined the execution of a Memoir himself, it 
became his duty to select, amongst the friends of 
his late Brother, one who possessed such qualifica- 
tions as were necessary for a Biographer. 

Sir Wilham Forbes, in his Life of Doctor Beattie, 
has described what those qualifications ought to be — 
" He, (says Sir William) who writes biography, 
" ought to have had a long and ?i€ar acquaintance 
" with the person whose life he means to delineate :" 
and such a description of friend presented itself in 
Francis Hardy, Esq., Author of the Memoirs of the 
late Lord Charlemont. 

Several other friends, and friends too of the highest 
literary eminence, with not less zeal and kindness, 
offered their assistance upon the occasion. At a 
future day the Editor may, perhaps, beg permission 
to avail himself of the proffered goodness of those 
kind friends, who, with so much sincerity of heart, 

xlii THE editor's preface. 

offered their tributes of respect to the memory of 
their lost friend ! In the mean-time he feels it incum- 
bent upon him, in this place, to declare himself 
bound to those valued friends by the strongest ties 
of gratitude for this peculiar mark of their kindness 
and affection. 

With respect to Mr. Hardy, he voluntarily offered 
to become the biographer of our Author ; and having 
been his early and intimate acquaintance and friend ; 
having associated with him the greater part of his 
life; and having resided in the neighbourhood of 
St. Valeri; they had, during an interval of many 
years, an almost daily intercourse with each other. 
Thus, such a person seemed to be in every way 
peculiarly qualified for the task of a biographer : 
but, in the instance of Mr. Hardy, not less so from 
the profundity of his learning, than from the elegance 
and purity of his taste. 

After Mr. Hardy became possessed of such mate- 
rials for the very early part of the life of our Author 
as his family alone could supply, he sat down with 
those materials before him, together with such other 
materials as he was himself enabled to collect from 
their long and mutual intercourse, and had actually 
commenced his proposed tribute to the memory of 
his friend. 

With respect to subjects of biography, it has been 
often remarked, but with what degree of justice the 


Editor of those pages will not take upon him to say, 
that the life of a literary man seldom abounds in 
incident sufficiently interesting for a biographer. 
However, in the instance of our Author, much inci- 
dent might have been expected, where the subject 
of the Memoir had, at different times, not only 
visited almost all parts of the United Kingdom of 
Great Britain and Ireland, but had generally re* 
corded, by Journals* and Diaries, the transactions of 
those various tours. He had, also, visited Italy, 
Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Flanders, and such 
parts of France as were accessible to the subjects of 

* Several of those Journals, and particularly an account of 
his Travels on the Continent in a series of Letters to his family, 
are in the possession of the Editor : some of those documents 
shall, probably, at a future day, be presented to the public. 
The Editor has also in his possession, (an inestimable treasure for 
his family,) a regular Diary, of many volumes, which his 
Brother kept for the greater part of his life, even from the daj-s 
of his pupilage, to almost the last month of his existence. That 
circumstance, however, is here mentioned merely as an indica- 
tion of his brother's fondness and partiality, at all times, for 
general accuracy and correctness : but, from the peculiar nature 
of such a work, it could not be expected to see the light. Those 
volumes must, therefore, rest, for ever, within the bosom of 
his own family, although important extracts may be made from 
them hereafter, as containing within themselves a considerable 
fund of materials for an extended Memoir of their writer (our 
Author), to be drawn forth, as occasiou may require, at a future 

xliv THE editor's PREFACE. 

Great Britain at the time of the performance of hif 
continental tour*. Thus, where so much incident 
had occurred during several years of our Author's 
life, much interest might have been expected from 
the delineation of such an elegant scholar and ac- 
complished gentleman as the late Mr. Hardy. 

Early in July, 1812, Mr. Hardy announced, by 
a letter to our Author's sister, that the Memoir was 
completed, and in this letter there were the following 
emphatic words : — " Well, I thank God, I have been 
" able to put the last hand to the Memoir.'' 

However, it was too apparent, during some of 
his last visits at St. Valeri, that our amiable biogra- 
pher was, about that time, evidently declining in his 
health, from, it was supposed, a paralytic affection ; 
this opinion was afterwards too soon realized ! On 
the 24th of the same month (July) he breathed his 
last, at Cookstown, the place of his residence, a 
village in the neighbourhood of St. Valeri ! 

A variety of domestic circumstances having oc- 
curred to interrupt the arrangement of Mr. Hardy's 
papers, the Memoir, thus announced by himself to 
have been completed early in July, remained locked 
up for many months after his decease : during which 
interval, the publication of Tassoni, at that time 
nearly printed, was, for this reason, unavoidably 

♦ In 1791. 

THE editor's preface. xlv 

postponed. At length an arrangement of Mr, 
Hardy's papers having taken place, the Memoir so 
anxiously looked for, was discovered, and imme- 
diately delivered into the hands of our Author's bro- 
ther, who, alas ! had not proceeded far in his perusal 
of the MS., when it was too evident that the hand of 
death had, not long after the commencement of the 
Memoir, made rapid advances towards this amiable 
friend and intended biographer of our Author ! And, 
although Mr. Hardy's love and respect for the me- 
mory of his friend remained undiminished in his 
bosom even to the latest momentf^'of his life, yet 
the powers of his mind seemecf evidently to have 
suffered from the debility of an approaching disso- 
lution! Thus, from motives of respect for the me- 
mory of this amiable and learned friend, the Editor 
has felt it his duty to withhold that Memoir from 
the world, which, had it been written previous to 
the writer's mind having been weakened by the ap- 
proach of his dissolution, would have been an honour 
to the memory of the Author whose life it was intended 
to have delineated. 

Thus the public have been deprived, it may be 
said, by Fate, of that extended and polished Memoir ^ 
which, had it not been for this unforeseen event, 
would have proceeded from the pen of the learned 
and accomplished Mr. Hardy. 

Ttiis unexp^ted interruption to the publication of 

Xlvi THE editor's PREFACE. 

the Memoirs ofTassoni was no sooner known, than a 
proposal to fill up the chasm was immediately 
made by the Reverend Mr. Edward Berwick, Rector 
of Leixlip — the mutual friend of Mr. Hardy and of 
our Author. 

Although the Editor was almost apprehensive it 
would be too late to expect that such a work could 
be accomplished time enough to appear along with 
the Memoirs ofTassoni, the printing of which was so 
nearly completed as to have little remaining to be 
done except that Memoir of the Author which had 
been so anxiously looked for and expected from 
the pen of Mr. Hardy, and for which the publication 
had been so long delayed ; still, as a Memoir seemed 
to have been necessary, the Editor's next object was, 
to endeavour to prevail upon the publisher to delay 
the publication of the work (although detained al- 
ready, it was feared, too long) until another Memoir 
could be prepared for the press. 

It would be doing an act of injustice and unkind- 
ness to this amiable and learned friend, not to men- 
tion that, without loss of time, the task was most 
cheerfully, and, it might be added, most affectionately 
undertaken by him ; and the Editor has the gratifi- 
cation to think, that he is at this moment in possession 
of this literary treasure : but, unfortunately, the pub- 
lication of Tassoni could not be delayed longer than 
merely the time that would be sufficient for hastening 


through the press the Editor's few introductory 
pages. Hence the Memoir by the pen of this kind 
friend, must, for those reasons, be for the present 
detained from the public. But the Editor sets too 
high a value upon it not to piomise himself the 
gratification of giving it to the public at some future 
day ; either separately, as a Memoir ; when, perhaps, 
it might, with more leisure, be further enlarged and 
extended by the Author; or, more probably, in con- 
junction with some other posthumous work of our 
Author — perhaps with his " Travels," or some 
other of those works which have been found in a 
considerable state of forwardness amongst his pa- 
pers: — Of those, there is one, the materials for which 
he had occasionally, during several years of his 
early life, been occupied in collecting and collating. 
The work alluded to is denominated, " Lives of 
" THE Painters, Sculptors, a^d Engravers 
" OF Ireland," which appears to have been ar- 
ranged and digested upon the model of a similar 
work by the late Lord Orford, (then Horace Wal- 
pole,) for England : a work with which, when a 
young man, our Author was greatly enamoured. 

Perhaps the writer of these pages could not men- 
tion the names of many literary friends who con- 
tributed more genuine gratification to his brother 
by his correspondence, nor more real pleasure by his 
society, whenever he called at St. Yaleri, (whicli 


he used frequently to do, when on a visit with the 
amiable and accomplished family of that celebrated 
orator, and ornament of his country, the Right Hon. 
Henry Grattan, at their beautiful mansion, Tina- 
hinch,) than the name of the friend whom he has 
just mentioned. 

Mr. Berwick had been for: many years the intimate 
associate of our Author. A more amiable man in 
morals and in manners is rarely to be found. As 
a classical scholar, his translation of Apollonius 
Tyaneus, and his Lives of Marcus Valerius Messala 
Corvinus, and Titus Pomponius Atticus, &c., make 
it unnecessary for the writer of these pages to offer 
any further proof of his profundity ; and in belles 
lettres he is equally informed. It was in the delight- 
ful circle of the family of the late Earl of Moira 
that our Author first experienced the happiness of 
meeting his amiable friend Mr. Berwick : and in 
the same circle, also, he used to meet his elegant 
and accomplished friend Mr. Hardy. 

The writer of these lines cannot, in justice to 
his Brother, mention the name of the noble family 
of Moira without adverting to those feelings of gra- 
titude which he always evinced for the innumerable 
attentions he experienced from the several branches 
of that highly accomplished family ; and for the 
many delightful hours he spent, during a series of 
years, at their mansion-house in Dublin ; an house 

THE editor's preface. xlix 

which might truly be denominated the Temple of 
Science and the Belles Lettres, Whenever he visited 
the metropolis, he uniformly received the most 
friendly invitations to that house. He there found 
an assemblage of rank and talent, endeared to the 
accomplished Earl and Countess by the congenial 
possession of literary and other elegant attainments. 
Such was " Moira House" during the residence of 
the family of the late Earl of Moira, and his learned 
and accomplished Countess, the mother of the pre- 
sent Earl. This excellent lady, who lived to a very 
advanced age, was pleased, during a series of years, 
to honour and indulge our Author by her learned 
and highly interesting correspondence, which was 
continued even to the very last stage of her life. 
It is to this correspondence the Rev. Mr. Boyd seems 
to allude in his poetical tribute to the Memory of 
his friend. The following is the stanza in which 
this allusion appears: — 

York^s sainted Heiress, who, with You combin'd 

The drooping genius of our Isle to raise ; 
With the communion of a kindred mind. 

Shall share with You the minstrel's grateful praise. 

It is but justice to the grateful feelings of our 
Author to say, that he most truly lamented the de- 

1 THE editor's preface. 

cease of this illustrious Lady, and to his last hour 
revered her memory, — in so much, that he could 
not, at any time, hear her name mentioned without 
the emotion of a sigh ! 

Having in the foregoing pages enumerated some 
of those persons from whom Letters of condolence 
were received, expressive of their grief for the loss 
of their valued friend, (our Author,) some of his 
poetical friends were not less kind and zealous in 
their tributes of affection and respect for his me- 

Eyles Irwin, Esq., at present of Cheltenham (Eng- 
land), a gentleman equally beloved and respected for 
the amiability of his heart, as for the elegance of 
his literary talents, indulged his sincere regret for 
the loss of his friend in the following pathetic and 
descriptive Lines, which were communicated through 
the medium of the Editor's learned Friend, and Mr. 
Irwin's brother-in-law, William Brooke, M.D. of 



M. R. I. A. &c. &c. &c. 


EYLES IRWIN, Esq. M. R. I. A. 

While Britain, drooping, mourns the common doom 
That bows her chosen worthies to the tomb ; 
While public talents to the stroke submit, 
And, traces Fox the mortal course of Pitt ; 
While Nelson falls, the trembling world to save. 
And Moore's green laurels flourish o'er his grave; 
And Windham, last of Burke's illumin'd school, 
At Death's dread summons abdicates the rule : 
The private circle feels the shaft of Heaven,— 
Nor wit, nor beauty, forms a shield for Devon ; 
Nor learning 'scapes — see wounded Friendship turn, 
To scatter Cypress o'er her Walker's Urn ! 

lii THE editor's preface. 

Shades of St. Valeri ! no more shall meet 
The sons of letters in your calm retreat ; 
The critic, bard, biographer, no more 
Illustrate talent with his chasten'd lore : 
Recall attention to his native lyre, 
Which Erin's Seers possess'd with patriot fire : 
Or lead, instructive, to the fallen land, 
Where arts and taste our homage still command, 
Tho' peace and freedom fiy the fated realm, 
Which Celt alike, and Corsican o'erwhelra ! 

Shades of St. Valeri ! your dell, how long 
The haunt of Erin's eloquence and song ! 
Where the pure streamlet thro' the Dargle strays, 
And v/ith the Dryads' tresses, amorous, plays; 
As pendant myrtles court the babbling waves, 
And her bare roots the coy arbutus laves ; 
Young Grattan first essay 'd his oral powers, 
And led the Attic nymph to Wicklow's bowers. 
When in his breast the great idea sprung. 
That mock'd th' untutor'd energies of tongue ; 
She taught his lips persuasion to distil. 
And turn the stubborn statesman to his will ; 
To work those blessings in his country's cause, 
That trade unfetter'd, and restor'd her laws ; 
Than Greek or Roman happier in his day, 
Whose service nought, but grateful acts repay ! 

Shades of St. Valeri ! to you were known 
The Gaelic spirit and the Theban tone ; 


in, > 
me ! } 

That marked the " Reliques" of thy elder time, 

Which female genius deck'd in classic rhyme. 

Thy echoes oft resounded to the strain, 

Where Brooke * reviv'd the memory of the slain 

Who sleep in honour's bed, proud victors of the Dane 

For parity of studies, and of mind, 

Still to her harp thy master's ear inclin'd. 

But mute, Milesian strings, — nor longer feel 
The plaintive touches of the fair O'Neill t ! 
Nor thine, the Philomela of the grove, 
Form'd for the reign of poesy and love, 
Enchanting Tigh^ ! | cut off in beauty's morn, 
Thy bosom press'd on sorrow's sharpest thorn : 

* Charlotte Brooke, who published an elegant translation of 
the Reliques of Irish Poetry, and republished the works 
of her father, Henry Brooke, the celebrated author of Gustavus 
Vasa. She inherited the enthusiastic genius, but not the ex- 
tended days, of her parent, dying of a fever in the flower of 
her life, in the year 1793! 

t The Honourable Mrs. O'Neill, mother of the present Earl. 
The beautiful Ode to the Poppy, inserted in Charlotte Smith's 
works, as the production of her friend, would, of itself, entitle 
her to a niche in the Milesian Temple. 

I With Mrs. Henry Tighe the literary circles are still better 
acquainted. Her Poem of Cupid and Psyche has gained her 
universal admiration ; but her affecting Stanzas to the Mezereon- 
Tree, written in the winter previous to her death, during a linger- 
ing consumption^ with all the prophetic inspiration of the Muse, 
have excited this sincere tribute to her talents and destiny. 

liv THE editor's PREFACE. 

Hark ! 'twas her death-note !* tremulous, tho* clear,- 
In Woodstock's bower that pain'd Affection's ear ! 

Devoted Italy ! what latent charms 
Shall tempt the vent'rous traveller to thy arms, 
Since war and rapine have thy fields defac'd, 
And left no vestige of thy stores of taste ? 
What neither Gaul presum'd, nor Goth, nor Hun, 
At once a victor's arrogance has done; 
Derob'd thy fanes of Painting's sacred story, 
Thy fountains, — villas, — of the Sculptor*s glory ! 

* How beautifal and how appropriate is this description ! The Poem 
alluded to by Mr. Irwin, as appears from a Note at the end of the 
late edition of Mrs. TigJie's Poems, " was the last composed by 
" the Author, who expired at the place where it was written, fWood- 
" stock,) after six years of protracted malady, on the 24th March, 1810, 
" in the thirty-seventh year of her age ! " 

This Note is followed by an exquisitely beautiful Poem, signed, W. T. 
the production, (it is presumed,) of Mr. William Tighe, of Woodstock, 
Member of Parliament for the County of Wicklow, and brother-in-law of 
Mrs. Tighe. In this Poem Mr. Tighe paints in vivid, and, it may be added, 
in celestial colours,Uhe pure and virtuous mind of this enchanting Lady, 
which, he figuratively and pathetically points out to her afflicted family 
and friends, — " as a Beacon for the weary Soul, to guide it to that Man- 
" sion, which, by her virtues, she had gained ! " 

The publication of the works of Mrs. Tighe does infinite honour to the 
head, as well as to the heart, of their accomplished Editor', (Mr. Henry 
Tighe,) of Rosanna. His motives for their publication were of the 
purest nature ; — they were, not only to erect an everlasting Monument in 
the Temple of Fame, to the memory of his departed angelic Consort, 
which she so highly merited ; — but also, (to borrow Mr. Tighe's own 
words from his Preface,) " not to withhold from the public such precious 
*' relics, which must tend to encourage and to improve the best sensations 
*' of the human heart."— Editob. 

THE editor's preface. 1t 

To liberty succeed the arts divine, 
To swell his trophies at Ambition's shrine : 
Bold sacrilege! that bears the plunder home, 
To bid his French Museum rival Rome ; 
Where, a,s the curious stranger hastes to find 
The range of genius to one roof consigned, 
He sighs to witness, 'mid this waste of grace, 
The arts he loves are aliens to the place ! 

So, in some pillar'd dome, from frost secure. 
Where pensile crystals Sol's warm beams allure; 
By Luxury rear'd beneath inclement skies. 
To bid exotics in succession rise ; 
The Orange race, and chief. Ananas rare. 
Which Eden cherish'd for the guileless pair: 
Each flower of potent scent, or gay attire, 
That speaks the stolen influence of fire : 
The Aloe too, tho' stunted he appears. 
The vigorous emblem of the Patriarch's years! 
When appetite is sated, and the sight 
No more receives from novelty delight; 
Reflection to a distant shore is led. 
Which paints them fairest in their native bed. 

The filial duty to his country paid, 
Which drew her minstrels from oblivion's shade; 
.And prov'd, in all the attributes of song. 
She urges, as in war, her sons along ; 
Who ardent grasp, — enthusiasts wild of praise^ 
The poet's myrtle, or the victor's bays ! 

Ivi THE editor's PREFACE. 

See Walker * quit her shores for milder gales, 
Which health impregnates in Ausonia's vales : 
With critic glance survey th' exhaustless scene, 
Tho' reap'd so oft, some gem o'erlook'd, to glean : 
Draw, from Murano's shades, the tragic Muse, 
Whose spells, tho* tempted by preferment's views, 
Trissino's temper won, the purple to refuse ! — 
Or, to Alfieri point, whose early page 
With horror's throes convuls'd the trembling stage. 
And he, whose strings yet yield a wilder tone, 
" By melancholy noted as her own." 
But ah ! what favour found her infant hours, 
Nurs'd by the arts, and train'd in fancy's bow'rs! 
When the bold theatre Palladio plann'd, 
And scenery beam'd from chaste Romano's hand : 
The poet's crown when kings and pontiffs wove, 
Which Walker consecrates with kindred love ! 

And still those works shall flourish, spite of time, 
Of barbarous ignorance, or modern crime, 

* Mr. Walker published his Historical Memoir of the Irish 
Bards about the year 1786, which established his reputation for 
history, biography, and criticism. Driven by ill-health to seek 
relief from the climate of Italj'-, he passed some time in visiting 
the principal cities, and forming an acquaintance with the 
dramatic writings of the most celebrated auihors, dead or living, 
of that favoured soil ; as appeared by his Historical Memoir on 
Italian Tragedy, which came out in 1799, and afterwards a 
supplement to that work, published a short time before his 
death. The reader must refer to them for the characters and 
dramas of the fathers of Italian tragedy, among whom the 
gentle Trissinoj the terrible Alfieri, and the gloomy Monti, hold 
a distinguished place. 

THE editor's preface. Ivii 

Which stampt distinction on their Maro's grave, 
And from Italia's wreck her genius save ; 
Bid Medicis oppose the bursting storm, 
Tho'ruin borrow her Napoleon's form ! 

Alas ! 'tis all that fortune can supply, 
Th' immortal essence, that shall never die ! 
Thy memory, Walker ! shall endear the ground. 
Where friend or stranger still a welcome found. 
Led by thy skill, the progress to unfold 
Of Erin's harp, which elder minstrels told. 
Fond to thy converse some new grace to owe, 
To praise, still forward, but to censure, slow : 
The happy medium which so nicely hit. 
That humour graceful grew, and modest, wit ! 
Nor absent there the ties that life adorn. 
As woodbine curls around the spreading thorn. 
Distemper's pains to cares fraternal yield. 
Which chase domestic evils from the field : 
All but the tyrant, whose untimely blow 
O'erwhelms the lorn St. Valeri with woe ! 

Nor shall He sink unmark'd, whose genial light, 
Prompt, with his learn'd associates to unite, 
Improvement spread, or in th' Arcadian * shade. 
Where her last notes the Roman swan essay'd ; 
Or where his * Erin many a name enrolFd, 
To raise from monkish cells her hidden gold : 

* Mr. Walker was not only a member of the Arcadian Aca- 
demy recently instituted at Rome, and of other Societies ou 
the Continent, but an original member of the Royal Iri^h 

Iviii THE editor's preface. 

Vallancey there, and Beauford, who contend 
From dark antiquity the veil to rend : 
Where science, Iris-like, her radiance flung, 
On chymic Kirwan, — philosophic Young ; 
Or Edgeworth, fond, instruction to expand, 
In morals, as mechanics, simply grand. 
Still honour'd there the Nestor of Dromore, 
"Whose pastoral song excels his songs of yore : 
Where sparkles still the Muses' splendid hoard, 
Which Charlemont and Preston oft explored, 
Till call'd like Walker, to th' Eiysian bower, 
To Fame they left th' imperishable dower ! 

These Lines had been prepared by Mr. Irwin for 
the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, of 
which our Author had been one of the original 
Members; and in order to give them a form more 
consistent with the rules of the Academy, he added, 
by way of Introduction to his Lines, a very ingenious 

Academy, whose labours have deserved so well of their country. 
In bringing forward the names of members distinguished for 
science, phijosophj', or poetrj'^, the Author means no disrespect 
to many of this learned body, who have no less merit and repu- 
tation, than the few examples which could be quoted in a poem 
of this nature, as their Transactions forcibly evince. Indeed, 
nothing but private regard and public respect for the deceased, 
and the silence of better qualified members of the Academy, 
could have induced him to attempt this Eulogy, which may 
hereafter be really produced as an evidence that 

** Grief, unaffected, suits but ill with art, 
*• Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart." 

THE editor's PREfAC]^, YlX 

and learned Essay* upon " Elegy J' Some unforeseen 
circumstances intervened to interrupt the appearance, 
at that time, of this tribute of Mr, Jrwin's friendship 
in the belles lettres department of the Transactions 
of that learned body; in consequence of which they 
were withdrawn. But Mr. Irwin understanding that 
the Memoirs of Tassoni were shortly to be given to 
the public, kindly indulged our Author's brother 
with his permission for their appearance in this 
place. The Editor's public thanks, and his unceasing 
gratitude, are here offered to the accomplished Author 
of" The Elegy on J. C. W. Esq." 

The Editor here begs leave to subjoin, an extract 
from a Letter with which Mr. Irwin lately favoured 
him upon the subject of this communication: — 

^ w w ^ "w 

" I shall always consider it a fortunate circum- 
" stance to have my name combined with that of 
" Joseph Cooper Walker in a publication, that, if 
" like the former, cannot fail to do honour to his 
" literary character. To have been known to, and 
" esteemed by, so distinguished and amiable an 
" Author while living, was a matter of no small 
" gratification to me; and to have added my feeble 
'' tribute to his many virtues and attainments, Avhen 
" no longer among us, is no less gratifying to the 
" feelings of friendship than to the love of letters. 

* This Essay is, at present, in the possession of the, — Editor. 

IX THE editor's PREFACE. 

" By Miss Walker and yourself I trust my 
" warmest acknowledgments will be accepted for 
" tlie very handsome and polite manner in which 
" the sincere effusions of my Muse have been re- 
" ceived, and the honourable tablet to which they 
" have been consigned. 

" Believe me, with great esteem, 

" My dear Sir, 

" Your's faithfully, 

** Samuel Walker, Esq. 

" Exarainator of Customs, 

" Custom House, Dublin." 

Several other persons were pleased to offer their 
poetical tributes of respect and affection to the me- 
mory of our Author. Amongst those, his learned 
and ingenious friend, the Reverend Henry Boyd, 
the celebrated translator of Dante. The following 
are the Lines alluded to, which are so descriptive 
of his attachment and regard for his late friend, as 
to render any further observations from the writer 
of these lines unnecessary, except to offer his sincere 
and grateful thanks to the Author of this tribute of 
affection, and to say, that he is proud to number 
the Reverend Mr. Boyd amongst his most respected 

THE editor's preface. 1x1 

Lines to tfje a^emorg 




On yon fair pillar falls a stream of light, 

Thro' that dark vista seen, when Sol ascends, 

But as dim evening spreads, it 'scapes the sight, 
And with the gathering shades obscurely blends; 

Yet, there it stands ; — still awful ! tho' unseen, — 
Forgotten by the crowd who past away. 

And saw the tall spire, o'er the shaded green, 
Return the glories of the rising day ; — 

So, gentle Spirit, thro' that mystic veil, 

Which Death from Life divides, thy worth appears, 
Saintly and pure, — till grief forgets to wail, 

And fancy sees the friend, or fondly hears ; 

Ixii THE editor's preface. 

So, gentle Spirit, I behold thee still, 

Even when the transient vital beam is fled ; 

Still present, when beside the weeping rill 
I muse at eve, conversing with the dead ! — 

Cold is that hand that oft was clasp'd in mine. 
And dumb that gentle voice that spoke the heart, 

Where holy Friendship seem'd, in tones divine, 
A more than earthly music to impart ! 

Often we pac'd along yon classic hill, 

Where seem'd the fairy stream thro' Tuscan shade. 
Of bow'ry pride beguil'd, to wind at will, 

Where Fancy's children wander'd thro' the glade! 

Ah ! long the sable wings of Fate were seen, 

Waving portentous o'er thy vital ray, 
Yet, still, each drear and darksome pause between. 

It seem'd a cheerful radiance to display ! 

Yet there, conversing with the great and good. 
Of various times, — the living and the dead, — 

Thou reap'dst the choicest fruits of solitude. 

And, thy charm'd mind with Attic treasures fed — 

Time was, when thou could'st chide the lingering sail, 
Which the kind billet from thy Jones * del ay 'd, 

Or, mark'd the swain, slow winding up the vale, 
With news from Allerton's fPit^rian shade! 

* The late Sir William Jones, t Seat ofWilliam Roscoe, Esq. 

THE editor's PltEFACfi. IxiU 

But now, thou meet'st thy Jones in light array'd, 
Joining the chorus of the blest on high, 

Or, bent o'er Allerton's Pierian shade, 

Behold'st thy Roscoe bright'ning for the sky — 

And, many an ancient bard *, whose lays are lost 
" In the dark backward and abysm of time," 
Whose names thy love replac'd in honour's post, 
^ Shall hail their entrance there, in strains sublime — 

And many a Celtic *, many a Tuscan t strain, 
Shall float around thee in the realms of light. 

From those whose songs inspir'd the free-born train, 
To brave the tyrant in the cause of right : 

York's sainted Heiress |, who, with You combin'd 
The drooping genius of our Isle to raise, 

With the communion of a kindred mind, 

Shall share with You, the minstrel's grateful praise. 

Oh ! would the noble Howard wake the Lyre, 
And to his friend departed swell the strain ! 

To join a Tuscan and Milesian choir, — 
The friend of Tuscan lore will not disdain ; 

* See Mr. Walker's Historical Memoirs of the Irish Bards p 
and Dress, <^c. of the Aiicient Irish. 

t See his Memoirs on Italian Tragedy, and Revival of the 
Drama in Italy. 

$ The late Countess of Moira^ whose illustrious lineage was 
graced with the most profound learning, and with all the virtues 
fif the human mind. 

]xiv THE editor's PREFACE. 

For thou wert long the friend of Tuscan lore, 
Thy Muse the flame of Alighieri * caught; 

By thee the mighty stranger t, scarce before 

To Albion's minstrels known, was hither brought. 

Hayley I, — thy skill, in various aspects drew 
Fair Virtue's face, and, to the world display'd, 

A gift indulg'd but to the favour'd few, 

Embower'd on Pindus, in her holiest shade ; 

Thou, who cans't seize the colours of the mind, 
And bid the bright reflex our souls illume. 

Oh ! be they for thy Friend once more combin'd ! 
His merits blazon, and defraud the Tomb! 

For much helov'd the Muse of ancient days, 
Nor less, the modern masters of the song ; 

No selfish motive check'd his languid praise, 
Nor did he turn the page with envy stung — 

Oh ! no — blest Shade ! thine was no envious light — 
That, with a comet's blaze, would shine alone, 

And sink its rivals in oblivious night, 

Like him that scorn'd a brother near his throne ; 

* Dante, — specimens of whose poetr3'^ Lord Carlisle translated. 

t The name of Dante was very little known in England till 
Lord Carlisle's Translations appeared. 

J See the many beautiful and engaging characters delineated 
in -various Poetical and Biographical Works of Mr. Hayley, 
•which evince him to be the friend of humanity, and of the 
best interests of man. 


No — like the stars that blend their rays above, 
And o'er the blue expanse commingled shine, 

Thy native fire, like universal love, 

Combined with all, a kindred light divine — 

Of talents, often, with unsocial pride. 

And envy mix'd, the monstrous birth we mourn j 
Not such was thine — a nobler light supply'd 

Thy lamp — alas ! it shews a funeral Urn ! 

Yet, with that cold and solitary Urn 
I would converse, with far superior gust. 

Than with the sons of clay, the brood of scorn, 
To friendship dead, like their primaeval dust l 

Could such a verse as lives to Lycid's name *, 

By me be laid upon that lonely Urn, 
Upon the wing of everlasting fame, 

Thy name, like his, around the world were borne : — 

Adieu ! adieu ! my lovM, — lamented Friend ! 

No more we listen to the Tuscan shell ! — 
Minstrels of Arno ! — from your shrines descend — 

— Ye green delights of Valeria — farewell ! 

H. B. 

* Milton's Lycidas, 

Hill -town, County Down. 

12tb April, 1810. ! 

Ixvi THE editor's PREFACE. 

To the foregoing affectionate tribute of respect to 
the memory of his departed Brother, by his amiable 
friend, the Reverend Mr. Boyd, the Editor has a par- 
ticular gratification in here adding some Lines ad- 
dressed to his Sister by a young Lady, whose modesty 
had, for some time, prompted her to conceal even 
her name. To this Lady the writer of these pages>- 
and his Sister, beg to offer their united and grateful 

THE editor's preface. Ixvii 





MISS -, 


Where yonder marble marks tlie silent Tomb, 
Oft shall the sons of Learning, pensive, stray, — 

For He who did their arduous path illume, 
Now peaceful rests beneath the silent clay I 

• These hines had been conceived in the mind of the Author, — 
or, to use lier own words, " had been dictated from her heart/' — 
whilst on a visit of condolence at St. Valeri, a short time after 
the decease of our Author! In a subsequent communica- 
tion upon the subject of these Lines, the Author uses the 
following words: — " I wrote the greater part of those Lines 
'* which you so kindly approve, whilst sitting on the verdant 
" bank of that River which flows, so picturesquely, through the 
" grounds of St. Valeri," 

e 2 


Yet not by Learning's sons alone approv'd, 
Each milder virtue Walker's life adorn'd, 

As Friend, — as Brother ^^ and, by all belov'd,— 
His loss, with fond regret, shall long be mourn'd I- 

A friend in him each child of genius found, 
He ne'er assum'd the critic's blighting scorn^ 

With mild benevolence to all around, 

In calm retirement pass'd each peaceful morn : 

And, now, with tottering step, and bending form. 
Old Erin's Bard comes slowly thro' yon glade t 

Long in obscurity he felt each storm. 

Till Walker snateh'd him from oblivion's shade ; — 

Now, low reclining o'er the silent grave, 
His trembling Harp resounds funereal lay r 

Borne on the blast, his white hairs gently wave. 
While his uplifted eyes the tears betray ! 

And, see Italia's tragic Muse prepare, 

To twine the flowers that there more sweetly bloom, 
Then, o'er the wreath she drops a pensive tear. 

And sends the votive gift to Walker's Tombt 

THE editor's preface. Ixix 

To the learned, the ingenious, and the justly cele- 
brated Mr» Hayley, of Chichester, — who had long 
honoured our Author with his friendship, and who 
had so often cheered his hours of sickness and of 
pain, with his exquisitely beautiful and enchanting 
correspondence, — the Editor's sincerest thanks are 

This gentleman has evinced the truest and most 
genuine emotions of regard and tenderness of friend- 
ship towards the memory of our Author, — for, since 
the decease of his friend, he has continued his cor- 
respondence with St. Valeri, in the hope of contri- 
buting consolation to the Brother and Sister of his 
lost friend ! 

To Mr. Hayley the Editor is indebted for the 
{oWowmg Elegiac Lines, whichf — (had not the present 
opportunity occurred of giving them to the public,) — 
were to have been engraven upon a Monumental 
Tablet in the favoured grounds of St. Valeri, — that 
once happy Villa, where our Author spent so many 
of the latter years of his life, — and where, alas ! he 
resigned his last breath ! — That sequestered and loved 
spot, to which he alludes in the latter part of the Pre- 
face he had intended for — the Memoirs of Tassoni. — 

It was to this little Villa he retired after his return 
from the Continent. This circumstance he, also, 
alludes to, in one of his former publications, in the 
following words : — " Soon after my arrival in my 
" native country, ill*health obliged me to retire from 

IXX THE editor's PREFACE. 

" ' the busy hum of men* and I sunk into rural se- 
" elusion in a verdant valley, watered by a winding 
" river, at the foot of a range of lofty mountains. 
" Here I summoned around me the swans of the 
*' Po and the Arno; and, while 1 listened to their 
" mellifluous strains, time passed me with an inau- 
" dible step." 

Here, he found an House, with a few acres of 
ground, which, in his correspondence with some of 
his distant friends, he used to describe in the word^^ 
of his favourite Horace: — [■» 

" Hoc erat in votis ; modus agri, non ita magnus, 
" Hortus ubi, et tecto vicinus jugis aquae fons, 
" Et paulum silvae super his foret. " 

The grounds, which are skirted by a romantic 
river, were, originally, laid out by a lady of refined 
taste and elegant accomplishments, (Lady Morris 
Gore*,) but were, since, greatly improved by their late 
owner. The House, although generally small, yet 
possesses one large Room, which had been well suited 
for that great desideratum of his taste — a Library, — 
and visible from this room, as well as from diflferent 
parts of the grounds, are some views of the enchant- 
ing scenery of the celebrated Wicklow Mountains. 

* To this Lady, St. Valeri is indebted for it's name, having been so 
called ftom that place In France which bears a similar name, where her- 
Ladyship and her Husband, (the Honourable JVIr. Gore,) had, for some 
time, resided, and with the picturesque scenery of which ihey bad been 
greatly euaniomed. - 

THE editor's preface. Ixxi 

The foregoing description of the once favoured 
Villa and grounds of his departed friend, will not, 
the Editor persuades himself, be unacceptable to 
Mr. Hayley ; — who will, it is hoped, pardon him for 
introducing, in this place, an extract, by way of 
-prefatory introduction to his Lines, from that truly 
pathetic and sympathizing Letter of condolence with 
which he so kindly favoured our Author's brother, 
upon his being made acquainted with the melan- 
x:holy event of the loss of his friend ! 

Extract of a Letter from W. H. Esq. to S. W. 
dated 28fh May, 1810. 
» * # * « * 

" I feel a melancholy delight in what you tell 
*' me of your fraternal intention to preserve the 
" rural Retreat, and Library, of your amiable Brother, 
" as Monuments sacred to his memory; — and, I 
** shall feel particularly gratified if the few hasty 
" Lines, which you will find on the next page, and 
" which arose spontaneously from my heart, on the 
" perusal of your Letter, have any power to soothe 
" the anguish of recent sorrow, that must press, 
" very heavily, on the near, and affectionate relatives 
" of my departed Friend ! — Forgive their imper- 
" fections, and receive them as a sincere, though 
^'' petty mark of my sympathy in your loss, — and 
" of the regard with which I am, 

*' Dear Sir, yours, &c. &c. 

" W. H." 

Ixxil THE editor's PREFACE. 




Of gentle manners, and a generous mind, 
Friendly to Science, and to Nature kind ! 
Zealous to make the worth of others known, 
Yet often apt to under- rate his own ! 
Such Walker liv'd, enjoying mental wealth, 
Tho' to retirement doom'd by failing health ! 

Ye Bards of Italy, and Erin, praise 
The liberal herald of your various lays ! 

Endear'd to many, tho' he liv'd apart, 
So widely spread the virtues of his heart; 
Affection grew from letters that he penn'd. 
Those who ne'er saw the Man, revere the Friend 
And yet, to meet him in those regions trust, 
Where God appoints the union of the Just ! 

THE editor's preface. Ixxiii 

Those Lines are, at present, inscribed upon a small 
Urn, which stands in the Library of St. Valeri; — and 
on the opposite side of the Urn is delineated a 
faithful likeness, or profile^ of our Author, — together 
with appropriate emblems, and dates of particular 
events or occurrences of his life. — 

It was in this Library where our Author, — when- 
ever he wa^ not oppressed by sickness or by pain, 
enjoyed the society of his literary friends; — and 
here, too, were often to be met. Ladies of distin- 
guished literary talents, and other elegant acquire- 
ments, in whose society, so congenial with his own 
elegant mind, he was permitted to indulge, St. Va- 
leri having been the constant residence of his Sister. — 
It was from this Library those Letters were issued, 
which, his partial friends were pleased to say, con- 
tributed so much to their gratification and amuse- 
ment; — in a word, — it was, here, were conceived and 
written — the Memoirs of Alessandro Tassoni. — 

The Editor feels a kind of melancholy consolation 
in here mentioning, that, this Library, — from a sacred 
respect to the memory of it's late, lamented master, — 
is to be carefully, and, it may be added, religiouslj/, 
preserved. — In addition to his own individual and 
personal collection of Books, — (which was by no 
means inconsiderable, and many of them extremely 
rare, purchased and collected with much assiduity 
during his Tour on the Continent,) — He had, be- 
sides, allotted in this Library, compartments for those 



highly esteemed Presentations j with which he had 
been, occasionally, favoured, by many of his literary 
friends ; all of which, it is the intention of his family, 
shall be handed down to posterity, in the place he 
had allotted for them, as a lasting Monument of the 
kind generosity of his friends, and, as a tiibute of the 
respect and gratitude of his family, for the polite libe- 
rality and kind friendship, of the generous donors. 

Here, are to be found, in their various classifica- 
tions, the works of the following Authors, — almost 
all of whom the Author of the Memoirs of Tassoni 
had been proud to number amongst his Corre- 
spondents, — and, several, amongst his most intimate 
and attached Friends, — 

William Ilayley, Esq. Chichester. 

Rev. John Black, LL.D. Edin- 

Lord Woodhouselee. 

William Marsden, Esq. F.R.S. &c. 

Thos. Jobnes, Esq. Hafod (Wales.) 

William Roscoe, Esq. Leverpool. 

Thomas Pennant, Esq. DoAvning, 

J. Ritson, Esq. London. 

Rev. Henry- John Todd, M.A. and 
F.A.S. Rector of All-Hallows. 

RoT)ert Anderson, LL.D. Edin- 

David Irving, LL.D. Edinburgh. 

Mrs. Charlotte Smith. 

John Penn, Esq. Stoke Park. 

Miss Anne Eannerman, Edinburgh. 

Eyles Irwin, Esq. Cheltenham. 

W. Preston, Esq. M.R.I.A. Dublin. 

Rev. Edward Berwick, Leixlip. 

Rev. Henry Boyd, Rathfryland. 

Thomas-James Matthias, Esq. Scot- 
land Yard, Wliiteball. 

Rev. Thomas Zouch, D.D. and Pre- 
bendary of Durham. 

Sir Richard Clayton, Barf. Adling- 

Mrs. H. Tighe, Rosanna, Wicklow. 

Rev. W. Parr Greswell, Lanca- 

Rev. William Shepherd^ Leveiv 

THE editor's preface. 


Isaac Ambrose Eccles, Esq. Crone- 
roe, Wicklow. 

Edmond Malone, Esq. London. 

Di Lulgi Angeloni, Paris. 

Signor Gaetano Polidori, London. 

Abate Melchior Cesarotti, Padua. 

Signor Tommaso de Ocheda. 

Miss Susanna Watts, Leicester. 

Signor Pietro Napoli Signoreili, 

Miss Matilda Betham, London. 

Miss Clara Reeve. 

Dr. Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dro- 

John Belfour, Esq. 

Rev. Edward Ledwich, M.R.I.A. 

Qeneral Vallancey, F.R.S. and 
M.R.LA. Dublin. 

Miss Charlotte Brook, Dublin. 

Earl of Chariemont, M.R.I.A. 

Dr. Matthew Young, M.R.I.A. 
Bishop of Clonfert. 

Richard Kirwan, Esq. F.R.S. and 
M.R.I.A. &c. 

Rev. Doctor Beaufort, CoUon. 

Rev. Mervyn Archdall, D.D. 

Isaac Weld, Esq. jun. Dublin. 

Sir William Ouseley, London. 

Lord Orford, Strawberry Hill. 

John Aikin, M.D. 

Miss Anne Plumptree, Hampstead. 

Charles Dunscer, Esq. M.A. New- 

Mrs. Burrows, Dublin. 

Charles Burney,M.D. and F.R.S. 

Right Hon. W. B. Conyugham> 

Francis Hardy, Esq. M. R.I.A. 

John Pinkerton, Esq. London. 

Several of those persons whose names now grace 
this List, the brother of our Author is grieved to think, 
are numbered with the dead ! — But to such as have 
survived their lost Friend, and to whom thanks have 
not been, already, communicated through the medium 
of the foregoing pages, — the Editor's public acknow- 
ledgments are due, and are, here, offered, for their 
liberal attentions to his late brother; — as, also, to such 
other Authors, — (his correspondents,) — whose Works 
are deposited in the Library of their departed Friend, 
but, whose names are not inserted in this List, in conse- 
«^uence of the Editor being uncertain whether, or no]t^ 

Ixxvi THE editor's PREFACE. 

the}^ were V resent ation-CopieSf from not finding them 
marked as such ; — and, now, alas ! that person is gone, 
by whom, alone, the doubt could be removed ! 

To those favoured names which are, here, enu- 
merated, the writer of these lines has, further, to 
add, those of two Noblemen, not less eminent in 
virtue, than in literature and taste. 

The Right Honourable Philip Earl of Hardwicke, 
when Chief Governor of Ireland, graciously pre- 
sented our Author with a beautiful copy of that 
splendid edition of the " Athenian Letters," which 
had been edited, with so much taste, by his Lord- 
ship, — accompanied with a Letter, dictated by the 
purest elegance of sentiment; — and, to the Earl of 
Carlisle he was indebted for his Lordship's various 
poetical works, in bindings of exquisite beauty and 
splendour of execution. — To those noblemen the 
writer of these pages would wish to express his 
deep sense of gratitude for their kindness and at- 
tentions to his late brother — but, he feels himself 
totally inadequate to the task. — 

To the Earl of Carlisle his brother's obligations 
■were numerous and unbounded. — His lordship's gra- 
cious correspondence infinitely cheered his drooping 
health and spirits, during several of the latter years of 
his Life; — and the last Letter received by the dear 
and interesting invalid, — (an occurrence of a few 
days previous t© his dissolution !) — was a Letter from 
the Earl of Carlisle, — but, to which, alas ! — after 
^any and frequent efforts, — he found himself, from 

THE editor's preface, Ixxvii 

extreme feebleness and debility of frame, — unable to 
accomplish a reply! — Thus, he bequeathed the ac- 
knowledgment of that inestimable Letter , by, it might 
be almost said, — his parting breath, — to his only sur- 
viving brother ! 

The writer of these lines feels it his duty here 
to acknowledge, that this Nobleman not only en- 
riched his brother's Library by his munificence, — and 
revived his languor by his correspondence, — but, he 
did more, — in the noblest manner, as unsolicited, he 
patronized his fortune. — The truest and best pane- 
gyrick upon those acts of gracious condescension 
in his Lordship, must arise from the reflection of 
that Nobleman's own heart. 

Perhaps it may not be considered irrelevant to 
mention in this place, that, amongst those works of 
the Earl of Carlisle which have been h^re noticed, 
is to be found that admirable and exquisitely beau- 
tiful version, by his Lordship, of the pathetic tale of 
" Ugolino" to which the Author of the Memoirs of 
Tassoni has, already, attested his obligations. Thus, 
as it was to his Lordship's version of that poem our 
Author attributed the origin of his fondness and par- 
tiality for Italian literature, perhaps the Editor may, 
here, be allowed to indulge this reflection, — that, had 
it not been for that Poem, — this little Volume, — the 
result of that enamoured pursuit of his departed bro- 
ther, — would not, now, have seen the light. 

IxxViii THE editor's preface. 

The brother of our Author having, thus, endea- 
voured to perform his duty as Editor of the ikfe- 
moirs of Tassoni, he will, now, present the readers 
of that work with the Preface of the Author, in 
his own words, at least, so far as he has been able 
to digest the scattered fragments which were found 
amongst his papers. It only remains for him to add, 
and he feels it his duty to do so, as a tribute of 
justice to the memory of his beloved Brother, that, 
had Heaven spared him a little time longer, so as 
to have enabled him to complete his Preface, in 
the manner he intended, he would have there left 
nothing undone, with respect to the announcement 
of his various obligations to his literary friends, 
which the most grateful heart could have dictated : — 
thus, to Fate, alone, those friends are to attribute 
his silence! 


THE editor's preface. Ixxlx 

On the i4th of April, (I8IOJ the last sad tribute was paid to 
Mr. Walker, who was accompanied to his Grave by a numerous 
train of lamenting and afflicted friends I He was interred in the 
churchyard of St. Mary, DuhMn, where the following inscription 
will be found engraven upon his Tomb : 

under this stone, 

(and adjoining the grave of his revered 

father and mother,) 

are deposited the mortal remains of 



ON THE 12TH APRIL, 1810, 






















S. W, M,DCCC.X1I. J. W. 


autf)Org PREFACE. 

The history of the revival of letters has been so 
ably treated, and so amply illustrated by several 
eminent writers, some of whom are still in beina, 
that the subject may be considered as exhausted! 
It IS therefore now time to ^urn our attention to 
the succeeding ages. 

In the 17th century, the period to which the 
present work is confined, Italy could not boast a 
Dante, a Petrarca, an Ariosto, or a Tasso; but still 
It was graced with many names dear to the Muses, 
and dearer still to science. 

It has been justly distinguished by the denomi- 
nation of the Age of Philosophy. Indeed, in that 
age science advanced with rapid strides under the 
direction of Aldrovandus, Galileo, and other cele- 
brated men; — several academies were instituted for 
Its promotion, under the auspices of munificent 
princes; — foreign nations were anxiously explored 


Ixxxii THE ^UtSOr'0 PREFACE. 

for subjects in natural history ; — Museums were 
formed, and Cabinets enriched with the most curious 
productions of Nature, in the New and Old Worlds ; 
— and the sphere of knowledge was widely ex- 
tended by the discoveries of scientific Travellers. 

While accessions to the general stock of natural 
knowledge were, thus, daily drawn from foreign 
sources. Science and all the elegant Arts flourished 
in Italy. The invention of the Microscope led to 
the discovery of a variety of objects heretofore un- 
known and unexplored ; it opened the secrets of 
Nature, and discovered minutia in the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms that had long " lain hid in night." 
The Telescope, too, was now discovered, which ex- 
posed to the human eye the wonders of the heavens; 
— the magic genius of Scamozzi raised splendid 
edifices in Florence and in Venice, and excited 
astonishment by the wide span of the arch of the 
Rial to, which he threw, with a bold hand, across 
one of the canals of the latter city; — churches and 
palaces were adorned by the pencils of Guido, 
Guercino, Albano, Maratti, and Salvator Rosa ; — 
Sarpi rent the veil which had so long covered the 
dark designs of the Church of Rome, devised to 
impede the progress of the Reformation ; — while 
Davila enriched the historic department with his 
interesting details of the civil wars of France. 
Tn the department of Poetry new discoveries were 

THE j9[Ut||Ot'j2? PREFACE. IxXxiii 

made; but the poetic style was, indeed, deteriorated 
by the false taste which always results from an 
attempt to improve any art that has reached per- 

The oriental languages were cultivated in the 
College of the Propaganda, instituted l622, by 
Gregory XV. ; and through the medium of that col- 
lege, the knowledge of the Gospel was extended to 
distant regions ; and the Academy de la Crusca 
was instituted for the express purpose of fixing a 
standard for the Italian language. 

To the department of poetry the genius of this 
age does not seem to have been peculiarly propi- 
tious; yet, in this age arose poets of whom Italy 
may be proud ; and an epoch is formed in its poetic 
annals, by the invention of the Mock-Heroic, and the 
perfection of the opera. 

From the illustrious assemblage of literary cha- 
racters who flourished in the 17th century, I have 
selected, as the subject of a Memoir, Alessandro 
Tassoni, not merely because he invented a species 
of epopee in which our countrymen, Pope, Garth, 
and Mr. Hayley, have so eminently distinguished 
themselves, but because much of the political and 
literary history of his time is blended with the 
memoirs of his chequered life. In tracing the his- 
tory of this eminent man, some of the most re- 
markable characters in letters, arts, and arms, who 

Ixxxiv THE ^UtflOr'^ PREFACE. 

flourished in that same period, occasionally come 
forward to notice, and afford his biographer an op- 
portunity of introducing him to public notice, sur- 
rounded with some of his most illustrious contem- 
poraries. Sanctioned by the example of several 
eminent biographers, I might, perhaps, have incor- 
porated memoirs of his contemporaries with those 
of himself; but I did not find that their history 
was sufficiently blended with his, to warrant such 
frequent interruptions of the narrative. I have, 
therefore, chiefly confined my biographical notices 
of .his literary contemporaries to notes at the bottom 
of the page, or to separate articles in the Appendix. 

On the Lives of Rinuccini, Gallilei, Guarini, 
andCniABRERA, I have fondly expatiated ; yet, much 
remains to be done by future biographers. I should 
gladly have given to the Lives of Guarini and 
Chiabrera a degree of interest and illustration which 
they have not hitherto received, by weaving into 
my narrative, selections of verse and prose from their 
various wTitings ; but I felt myself restricted by the 
limits of my plan, (the narrow limits of an Appen- 
dix,) and therefore merely sketched, when I should, 
perhaps, have detailed. 

I flatter myself, however, that my account of 
those writers will be found to be at least more full, 
than any that has, hitherto, appeared in our Ian? 


Although in these sketches I have, perhaps, some- 
times exceeded the limits which I prescribed to 
myself in this part of the work, I have, I fear, 
exhibited an imperfect view of the eventful Life of 
Guarini. It merits, in fact, to be treated more in 
detail, and if treated in that way, perhaps a more in- 
teresting subject has been seldom offered to biography. 
The letters which I have interwoven with the nar- 
rative not only open a full view of the personal 
history of the writer, but abound in ingenious cri- 
ticism and good sense, and occasionally afford much 
literary and political information. In fact, a JJife 
of Guarini opens a large canvass, and embraces al- 
most all that was most interesting in the literary 
and political history of his time. I therefore hope 
he will yet find a biographer fully qualified to do 
him justice. If he should be as fortunate as his 
friend Tasso, his admirers will have reason to re- 
joice. I allude to a Life of Tasso now * passing 
through the press, by a learned and ingenious youngf 

* 1810. 

t Since those pages had been written by the Author, the 
work here alluded to has been published, and the literary 
world in general, and Scotland in particular, has to boast of 
the name of the Rev. John Black. 

The University of Glasgow, from their respect for the 
learning and talents of Mr. Black, have lately conferred upon 
hira, — and most deservedly, — the honourable degree of LL.D, 

This inestimable publication of Dr. Black will be found 


gentleman, who modestly withholds his name from 
the public ; but 

** Merit was ever modest known." 

But perhaps the most valuable article in my 
Appendix, which is now, for the first time, im- 
parted by the press, is an inedited Poem of Tasso, 
for which I am indebted to a lady of refined taste 
and considerable literary acquirements, who in a 
tour through Italy in the year 1802, obtained at 
Ferrara a copy of the poem alluded to, accompanied 
with some interesting particulars of the private his- 
tory of the Author. This literary treasure will be 
found in my Appendix, No. V. 

A very detailed Life of Tassoni has been given to 
the world by Muratori ; and, in order to gratify 
the English reader, I at first intended to have given 
merely a translation of his Vita del Tassoni^ but I 
afterwards relinquished that idea. I took him, how- 
ever, for a guide, and employed freely, but not 
without acknowledgment, the materials which he 
had collected ; extending, at the same time, my 
researches to such other sources of information as 
were within my reach: but, in fact, I alone, am 
responsible for the greater part of the narrative, 

noticed by the Editor of this work, ia his PrefacCf page xxx. 
— Editor, 


and, in general, for the sentiments and observations 
which occasionally occur. 

Thus, the reader is taught what he is to expect 
in the following pages. If he should seek in them, 
in vain, for all the information which public libraries 
could supply, he will, I trust, be induced to ex- 
ercise his candour and indulgence, when he is told 
that the Author is a recluse amongst the mountains 
of Wicklow. 

I shall, therefore, to borrow the words of Mr. 
Roscoe, " submit this performance to the judgment 
*• of the public, ready to acknowledge, though not 
" pleased to reflect, that the disadvantages under 
*' which an Author labours, are no excuse for the 
*' imperfections of his work." 


The Editor's Preface * Page vii 

The !auti?or'0 Preface Ixxxi 

Memoirs of Tassoni. 

Family of Tassoni, l. — His birth (1565) and parentage — - 
the early loss of his father and mother — anecdote of his 
recollection of the latter, 2. — Early youth of Tassoni sur- 
rounded with difficulties — allusion to his difficulties in 

^ his Pensieriy 3. — Lazzaro Labadini conducted his early 
studies in Modena, the place of his birth. — Labadinf. 
alluded to in La Secchia Rapita, 4. — Anecdote of Laba- 
dini's innocence and simplicity with regard to the death 
of a favourite cow. — Paganino Guadenzio mentions Tas- 
soni's subsequent education in Pisa, 5. — Tassoni's playful 
letter on this subject — mentions the wine of Pisa, called 
(il Greco), 6. — Battle of the Bridge, an ancient custom in 
Pisa. — Hint for tutors. — Tassoni, in his eighteenth year, 
decides for the profession of the law, 7. — In the same 
year writes a tragedy, called L' Erico, — In his twenty- 
second year he expresses his disapprobation of that 
tragedy, in a work entitled Locus Poenitentice — Tassoni 
retires to Bologna — De la Lande's description of the 
university of that city, 8. — Bologna alluded to by Tassoni 
in La Secchia Rapita, 9. — Claudio Betti and Ulysses Al- 
drovandus, professors in Bologna, 10. — Botanical know- 
ledge of Aldrovandus alluded to in the " Ercolano" of 


rarichi. — Tassoni mentions in his " Pensieri" the anato)ny 
of an eagle's eye, which he saw in the house of Aldro- 
vanduSf 10. — IMemoir of Aldrovandus — born in 1522, and 
died in 1605, 11. — De la Lawde'« description of his Mu- 
sjeum, 12. — Tassoni's ludicrous aUusion, in La Secchia 
Rapita, to a person from whom he received a slight 
injury at a masquerade in j^oiogna— studies law under 
Cremonio, a celebrated professor (1591) in Ferrara, and 
mentions him with gratitude in his Tenda Rossa, 13. — 
In 1592 he exercises his profession as a lawyer in Mo- 
dena, 14. — In 1597 he goes to Rome, where he was left a 
legacy by a friend (Poliziano) — Inscription upon Poli- 
ziano's tomb — Whilst in Rome Tassoni writes a treatise, 
in which he defends Alexander PheraiiSj and Obizzo, 
Marquis of Este, from the charge of tyranny, with 
which they are branded by Dante, who, as a punish-_ 
ment, immerses them in boiling blood, 15. — Appointed 
secretary to Cardinal Ascanio Colonna — both proceed on 
an embassy to Spain — they meet on their voyage the 
gallies conveying Maria de Medici to share the throne of 
France, 17. — Tassoni falsely accused of presenting a 
lady in Rome with an ampoletta, containing the figure of 
a little devil. — Dcetnonologie of James I. noticed, 18. — 
Cardinal Colonna appointed viceroy of Arragon — Tassoni 
dispatched to Rome to obtain the beneplacito of CZe- 
ment VIII. 19. — Solicits and obtains the clerical tonsura 
— returns to Spain, and on his voyage commences his 
Considerazioni sopra le Rime del Petrarca, 20. — Quotations 
from the preface of his Considerazioni, containing severe 
reflections upon Petrarca, 21. — The Trionfi noticed. — 
Tassoni dispatched by Cardinal Colonna to Rome, to 
superintend the cardinal's private affairs, 22. — Under- 
takes a journey to Calabria, and cultivates his knowledge 
of nature obtained under the discipline of Aldrovandus — 
His Toyage supposed to be represented in La Secchia 


Rapita by the expedition of Venus to Prince Manfredi, 23. 
— Itinerary of Rutilius noticed — also certain passages in 
La Secchia Rapita quoted, supposed to be descriptive of 
TassonVs voyage, and particularly a description of the 
island of Palmaria, or Palmarola, the Pandataria of the 
ancients, 24. — Description continued, 25. — Madonna Ca- 
rissima, 97 years of age, twice dentized — Countess of Des- 
wond noticed — Tassoni's beautiful and picturesque descrip- 
tion of Naples, 26. — Admitted into the Academia degl' 
Umoristi, at Rome, under the title of II Bisquar do, 27. 
— Became president — This academy described in " His- 
torical Memoir on Italian Tragedy," — was not of long 
continuance — attempted, in vain, to be revived in the 
palace Mancini, 28. — Prince Federigo Cesi institutes a 
new academy, denominated Dei Lincei, 29. — The 
model of the Roijal Society of London, and most of the 
other Royal Societies at present in existence, 30. — Aca- 
demia DEI Secre*, instituted by Giambattista Porta, of 
Naples — Shortly after Tassoni became a member of the 
Lincei he published his Parte de' Quisiti, intended as a 
specimen of his Pensieri, and dedicated the work to 
the Academia della Crusca — Printed in Modena, at the 
press of Cassiani, in 1608 — The printer's device of a snail 
noticed — Tassoni in the following year published his 
Considerazioni sopra le Rime del Petrarca, 31. — Annotazioni 
of Muzio published — Anecdote of Girolamo Muzio — Tas- 
soni robbed of his patrimony in Modena, 32. — Petrarca, 
the idol of the Italian nation, 33. — Veneration for the 
bard of Vaucluse — Lord Holland's History of Lope de 
Vega, 36. — Petrarca defended by Giuseppe degli Aromatarj, 
under the title of Risposte — In 22 days afterwards 
answered, acrimoniously, by Tassoni— Letter of Mu- 
rino, 37. — A further and still more acrimonious reply 
from Aromatarj, in which he was assisted by two profes- 
sors of Padua, 38. — This reply roused Tassoni to the 


publication of his Tenda Rossa, (or the Red Flag) — This 
title explained, 39. — Paolo Beni^ and Cesare Cremonio, 
supposed to have been the two professors who assisted 
Aromatarj, 40. — Aromatarj practised as a physician at 
Venice, where he died — His treatise on Canine Madness 
noticed, 41. — A bitter sonnet, in praise of Peti area, pub- 
lished under the name of Padre Livio Galanti— 'Replied 
to, in another sonnet still more bitter, by Tassoni — 
Baillet, a French critic, a champion of Petrarca, 42. — 
Origin of the plan of La Secciiia Rapita, as a mock- 
heroic poem, 43. — Tassoiii's reasons for claiming the 
honour of being the inventor of this new species of 
Epopee, 4:'i,—Braciolino, of Pistoia, his rival, by a work, 
entitled Lo Schcrno degli Dei, 45. —La Secchia Rapita com- 
menced in April, 1611, and ten books finished in the 
October following — Numerous copies in MS. — One 
copyist realized 200 ducats in a few months, at the rate 
of eight ducats for each copy, 46. — Braciolino's poem of 
Lo Scherno degli Del described by M. Landi, 47. — Tas- 
sonVs jealousy of that poem induces him to print La 
SeccJiia Rapita, 48. — The difficulty of getting it printed, 
from apprehensions of the Inquisition, 49. — Whilst a 
treaty for printing the work was pending, Tassoni added 
two cantos, and his friend Barisoni prepared the argu- 
ments of the first ten cantos — An alteration made in 
canto iii. st. 11. to avoid the displeasure of the Count of 
Bismozza, 50. — Count Paolo Brusantino supposed to be 
shadowed under the name of Count di Culagna — The 
alleged cause of this allusion — Sir Plume of Pope recog- 
nized in Count di Culagna — La Secchia Rapita at length 
printed in Paris, 51. — iVfterwards (1624) at Rome, but 
marked Ronciglione — 3Iarino opposed the printing in 
Paris, from motives of jealousy — and also in consequence 
of his being satyrized in the poem— Cantos marked where 
the allusions to Marino appear, 52. — The edition at 


J^ome corrected by Pope Urban VIII. — The adjunct of 
" Rapitn" explained, 53. — A copy sent to the conservators 
of Modena, who, in return, send Tassoni a compliment 
of 100 Roman crowns — Mr. Hayley's poem of Triumplis of 
Temper noticed, 54. — Some account of Le Liitrin of 
BoileoM, which derives its origin from La Secchia Rapita 
• — Different translations of La Secchia noticed, 55. — 
L,' OcEAJJo of Tassoni described — A general outline and 
analysis of the poem, with several quotations, com- 
mencing at 56. — Trees dropping showers described, 66. 

— Tassoni's famed letter to Signor N , accompanied 

with a copy of L'Oceano, 68. — Pensieri dsversi of 
Tassoni described ; also his Parte de Quisiti, 77. — His 
Pensicri considered as a compendium of all the learning 
of the age in which it was written, 78. — Invention of the 
telescope, microscope, and les lunettes, (or spectacles,) noticed 
: — Also Giambattista Porta and Galileo, 80,—Camillo Baldi 
a friend of Tassoni — Baldi's works mentioned — A copy 
of one work, attributed to him, under the title of Phy- 
siognomica Aristotelis Commenlarii, is to be found in the 
library of St. Patrick, Dublin, 82. — T'assoni's playful 
letter to Baldi, 83. — Doctrines of Aristotle noticed, 84. — 
The Parliament of Paris prohibit (under pain of death) 

the teaching any thing contrary to those doctrines 

Dr. Beattie's opinion of the doctrines of Aristotle~a\so 
Montaigne's opinion, 85. — Tassoni's observations upon 
Homer, 86.—Pinacotheca of G. V. Rossi, (alias Janus 
Nicius Erythreus,) noticed, 87. — The seventh book of 
the Pensieri particularly mentioned, and the following 
Quisito, or question, noticed—" Se le Lettere e le Dottrine 
" siano necessarie nelle Republiche," 89.-—Tasso7ii's frightful 
description of a letta^ato, or scholar, in the following 
chapter of the same book, 94.— First Quisito of the 8th 
book noticed, viz. " Why the Romans covered their head 
(it sacrifice"— CelehvsLted picture of the immolation oi 


Iphigenia, by Timanthes, 96. — Tenth book added to the 
Poisieri, being a treatise on the powers of Music — 
James /., of Scotlmd, noticed, 99. — Also Carlo Gesualdo, 
Prince of Venosa, 100. — Sir John Hawkins' account of the 
Prince of Venosa, 103. — Pomponio Nenna, a celebrated 
composer of madrigals, 104. — Another chapter of the 
10th book noticed, entitled " Se il Boia sia infame," 
(whether the office of executioner be infamous,) 106.— 
Famous picture in the Escuriel mentioned, 107. — Various 
editions and translations of the Pensieri noticed, 108. — 
Eagguagli di Parnaso of Boccalini, 109. — Account of 
Boccalini, 110. — His Pietra del Paragone Politico men- 
tioned — also the reason of its non-publication until after 
his death,^ 111. — Tassoni's allusion to his disappointments 
of a situation in the Papal court, which led to his com- 
position of the 13th quisito of the 2d book of the Pen- 
sieri — his pointed allusions to the month of his birth, 
{September), 1 12. — His moral reflection in the same Qui- 
sito, 113. — In the year 1613, is employed in the court of 
Carlo Emanuele, Duke of Savoy — His character of that 
prince as a man of talent, and great diversity of learn- 
ing, 115. — His treatise on Heraldry — Also his other 
works in MS. in the royal library of Turin — J. G. Le 
3Iaitre's Travels noticed, 116. — Guarini's compliment to 
the Dutchess of Savoy, in his Pastor Fido, (prol.) 117. — 
Tassojii's reflections upon his " poca foHuna," 120. — His 
Latin Epitome of the Annals of Ccesar Baronius, supposed 
to have been published after his death by Lodovico Au- 
relio, as his own production, 121. — In Tassoni's Epitome 
he alludes (under the year 1249) to that war in Italy, 
whence arose the poem of La Secchia Rapita, 122. — 
Mr. Hayleifs allusion to Cowpefs Task, 123. — De la 
Lande's description of the tower in Modena, where the 
famous bucket was suspended — Memoir of Ccesar BarO' 
mMs,i24. — Tass(wi appointed chief secretary to the Duke 


of Savoy, 1^7.— His account of Ferrara, 12§. — The Trivia 
of Gay emanated from La Secchia Rapita — Tassoni's cool 
reception at Turin — Other occurrences there, 129. — 
Prince Filiberto mentioned, 130. — Envy, amongst the 
courtiers, of the splendid abilities of Tassoni the principal 
cause of his cool reception, 131. — The Filippiche attii- 
buted to Tassoni, but disowned by him, 134. — Fulvio of 
Savona mentioned, 135. — Tassoni quits the court of Savoy 
in disgust, 137— but still considered a retainer; and, 
upon the death of Paul V,, he was ordered to proceed on 
an embassy to Rome — Gregory XV, appointed Pope, 
after a deliberation of two days in the Conclave, 138. — 
Quits the service of the court of Savoy, and writes a vin- 
dication of his character, 143. — Notices of several of the 
principal characters connected at this time with the 
court of Rome, to be found in the Rev, Mr. TodrVs Life of 
Milton, 144. — Character of Pope Urban, 145. — Account of 
Girolamo Preti, 146. — Tassoni (in 1623) enters the service 
of Orazio Lodovisio, Duke of Fiano, 149, and accompanies 
him to the Valteline, and thence to Rome — Account of 
his journey, 150. — The Pensieri mentioned in the Apes 
UrbatuB of Allacci, 152. — Account of Leone Allacci, 153. — 
Tassoni, tired of an active life, retires to a villa near the 
Pallazzo de' Riari alia Longara, in Rome, where he 
divided his time between his garden and his books, 155. 
— He amuses himself shooting thrushes with his archi- 
hugio — the arquebus described — was in use in 1432. Vide 
Travels of La Broquiere, translated by Mr. Johnes, of 
JJafod, 157. — Tassoni quits his retirement, and enters the 
service of Cardinal Lodovisio, with a salary and apart- 
ments in his palace in Bologna, 158. — Tassoni's humorous 
picture of Bologna — Some account of Cardinal Lodo- 
visio, 160. — Congregation de Propaganda Fede mentioned, 
161. — Villa, Lodovisi described— Tassowi, after the death 


of the cardinal, enters the service of Francis J., sovereign 
of Modena — Becomes a member of his council, 162. — 
Tassoni's sonnet, giving a ludicrous description of il/o- 
denoy 163. — His more serious description in cant. iii. 
St. 47. of La Secehia Rapitttf 164. — Account of Girolam9 
Graziano, 165. — After continuing twelve months in the 
court of his natural sovereign, in Modena, TassonVs health 
began to decline — On the 25th of April, 1635, he died, 
in th^ 71st year of his age, 167. — His first Will, 168. in 
which some doubts are entertained as to the natural 
legitimacy of his reputed son, Marzio — He bequeaths 
several prcemia to be given for literary compositions, 
annually, on the Feast of St. Michael, (the day of his 
birth,) in Modena, his native city, 171. — The former Will 
revoked and a second Will executed, in which Cardinal 
Lodovisio is mentioned, — and also his Epitome of the 
Annals of Baronius, 173. — The cardinal died before Tas- 
soni, and hence a third Will became necessary — but his 
prcEvnia for the encouragement of elegant literature are 
not discontinued — In this Will his son, Marzio, was more 
favourably mentioned, 175. — Character of Tassoni, 176. 
— Critique upon the nature of his works, 178. — His 
person described — His picture noticed and motto ex- 
plained, 181. — State of patronage in ItaJy in the 17th 
century, 183. — Criticisms upon La Secehia Rapita — The 
entire poem analyzed — Several quotations and trans- 
lations introduced, from page 185 to 217. — Wooden Bmhet 
preserved at Modena, 190. — The beauties of La Secehia 
Rapita noticed, 191. — Female warriors conducted by 
Renojjpia, 202. — Scarpinel, a blind minstrel, the Demo- 
docus of the poem, 205. — The extraordinary effects of his 
music upon Renoppia — Her modesty takes the alarm, 206. 
—Count di Culagna described, 205. — Story of Melindo 
borrowed for the purpose of ridiculing some of the 


poetry of the age, 214. — The author's apology for the 
length of his criticisms, 218. — Pope's Rape of the Lock 
emanated from La Secchia Rapita, 219. 

No. I. Ottavio Rinuccini is captivated with the charms 
of Maria de Medici — Perfection of the melo- 
drama ascribed to Rinuccini — Jacopo Peri, the 
inventor of the species of musical composition 
called Recitative — Remarks on the dramas of 
£,' Euridice and Dafne — Musical echo prevailed 

No. II. Galileo Galilei, professor of mathematics in 
Pisa — Gustavus of Sweden attended his lectures, 
and was instructed by him in the Tuscan lan- 
guage — Galileo supports the system of Copernicus 
—Is summoned to attend the Inquisition — The 
invention, or rather the improvement, of the 
Microscope attributed to Galileo — also the Pen- 
dulum, the Thermometer, and the Clock — A clock, 
in which the pendulum was first employed, made 
under the direction of his natural son, Vincenzo, 
— Galileo discovers the ring of Saturn, the satel- 
lites of Jupiter, and the solar spots — Sir Isaac 
Newton acknowledges his obligations to Ga- 
lileo Page 231, to 243. 

No. III. Gabriello ChiabrerAj, born in Savona (1552) 
— a dramatic writer of celebrity — author of 
many canzoni, and of five epic poems — a poet of 
great respectability, and highly honoured by 
the House of Savoij — Pope Urban VIII. compli- 
ments him with un hacile pieno di agnus Dei — He 
claims Savona for the birth place of Columbus — 
, Resides at the rural retreat of P. G. Giustiniani, 
at Fessolo — His host's Latin inscription over 


the door of his apartments — Epitaph on his 
tomb Page 243, to 258. 

No. IV. Battista Guarini, author of the Pastor Fido — 
bom in Ferrara (1537) — professor of moral phi- 
losophy — Tasso, his fellow student in Pisa, first 
led him into the flowery paths of poesy — Was 
employed in the service of Alfonso II., duke of 
Ferrara, and invested by him with the order of 
knighthood — and afterwards by Henry IV. of 
France — his Pastor Fido gotten up with great mag- 
nificence in the court of Twrin.. Page 258, to 285. 

No. V. Torquato Tasso — His inedited Poem, found in 
the library of Ferrara Page 285, to 290. 

Additional Notes. 

From Page 291, to 304. 

Index 305, to 316. 



Page xxviii. line g, for he, read He, 

— — xxxviii. line 18, after congenial, read a comma. 

34, Note t, line 7, for Cehors, read Cahors. 

48, line % for 1718, read l6l8. 

89, last line, for App. read Appendix, No. II. 

9,3, Note t, line 2, for quelle, read quello. 

105, Note *, line 3, after madrigal, read the'Title of. 

113, Note*, line 5, /or dent' 10, read dentro. 

124, line 9, for Lavora, read Lavoro. 

156, Note *, line 2, for Le Vent, read Le Vint. 

163, line 9,0, for volti, read \o\.\.o. 

166, Note, line 6, for poem, read poema. 

■ 214, Note, line 1, for de romans, read des romans. 

284, Note t, line 3, for Hertford, read Hartford. 

Since the Note in page xl. of the Editor's Preface 
was printed, it occurred to the Editor y that, although 
he was not in possession of a drawing of the Church 
and Steeple of Modena, called by de la Lande, la 
GUiRLANDiNA, yet, in the Edition of La Secchia 
Rapita, whence the Head of Tassoni prefixed to this 
Work was taken, there is a representation of the 
Steeple, where the Bucket, so famed, was suspended ; 
hut, being merely the Steeple, — or, as it is called by 
Muratori, (Torre,) Tower, — digested of all the circum- 
jacent buildings of the Cathedral, or other ornamental 
scenery, — the Editor did not consider it an object suffi- 
ciently picturesque, to constitute, by itself, a Plate for 
this Work ; — he, therefore, did not introduce it as such, 
but proposed to Mr. Neagle to combine the Tower 
with his beautiful Engraving of the Knight carrying 
the Trophy Bucket ; — to this proposal, Mr. Neagle, 
very cheerfully acceded, although the Elate had been, 
at that time, considered as finished, and, in fact, ready 
for the Press ; — however, through Mr. Neagle' s wil- 
lingness to oblige, this Tower now composes a leading 

c H^oismtipU 

feature in the hack-ground of the Engraving alluded 
to; and, he has, besides, introduced, with much taste, 
a distant view of the Battle, where the celebrated 
Bucket had been contested: thus, whilst the eye is 
engaged in viewing this Plate, the imagination can, 
easily, be led to picture to itself, — The Battle raging, — 
but, the Sieccijia Eapita, or, the long contested Bucket, 
obtained, — and one of it's victorious Champions carry- 
ing it away in triumph, — for the purpose of deposit- 
ing it in the Tower, — which is here represented, — 
being the place allotted for its future destination, and 
where it had been seen by de la Lande, when on his 
Travels in Italy. — This combination of circumstances 
cannot but give an additional interest to the mind, 
whilst this Plate is under contemplation. 

Mr. Neagle's abilities as an Engraver are too well 
Imown to the world, to require any comment from, the 
Editor of these pages : however, it would be an act 
of injustice not to mention, that the view of the Tower, 
ivhich he has introduced into this Plate, is a most 
faithful representation of the Engraving whence it 
was taken, although that, and his Battle, are done 
upon a scale sufficiently minute for the celebrated burine 

The Tower is built of white marble, as appears 
from an Inscription upon the Engraving, whence this 
view was taken, and where, also, the height of the 
Tower is recorded. 

The following are the words of the Inscription al- 
luded to: — 



It appears from the learned researches of the 
indefatigable Muratori, that the family of 
Tassoni is of high antiquity, and of noble 
origin in Modena, He found the name of 
Bonavere de' Tassoni, from whom its descent 
is traced, registered in the Annals of that city, 
entitled " Magna Massa Populi," so early as 
the year 1306. From that period to the birth 
of the subject of this Memoir, not a link seems 
to be wanting in the genealogical chain*. 
But I shall, I trust, be excused, if I should 
decline following the fortunes of the family 

* To the elaborate Vita del Tassoni by Muratori, Barotti lias 
subjoined, Tavola Genealogica de' personaggi della casa Tassoni di 
Modena. We learn from Tiraboschi, that Pietro lassoni, a lawyer 
of eminence, from whom, it is said, in this Tavola, that, all " le 
" linee nobili de' Tassoni di Modena, di Ferrara, e di Bretagna in 
" Francia," are descended, compiled, in 1362, Annals of Modena* 
which are still extant. Stor. della Lett. It. torn. v. p. 351, 
Mod. 1775, 



through the middle ages, and commence my 
account of its descendants with Bernardino (TI.) 
who was bora on the SSd of December, 1537. 
From this Bernardino, and his wife, Sigis- 
monda, or Gismonda PeUiciari, a lady of noble 
birth, sprung Alessandro Tassoni, the author 
of La Secchia Rapita, or. The Rape of 
THE Bucket. 

On the 28th of September, 1565, Alessandro 
first saw the light, in the city of Modena*. 
Early deprived of his parents, his recollection 
of them was very imperfect. Of his father I 
do not think he speaks in any of his writings ; 
but he records, in his " Pensieri," a circum- 
stance respecting his mother, which would be 
likely to impress itself deeply upon the mind 
of a child. — " I remember," says he, " that 
" my mother had a flea chained with a silver 
" chainf." 

* '• Nell' anno 1565, nel di 28 di Settembre," says Muratori, 
" venne alia luce in Modena il nostro Alessandro." In support 
of this assertion, the learned biographer thought it necessary to 
adduce proofs, as attempts had been made by some writers in 
Bologna, to refer the birth of Tassoni to that city. Vita del Tas- 
soni, p. 49. Feeble, but specious, these attempts succeeded for 
awhile in deceiving the public, and even misled Perrault, the (first) 
French, and Ozell, the only English translator of La Secchia 

t Questo so io di certo, che Gismonda mia madre aveva una 
pulce incatenata con una catena d'argento. Pens. lib. x. cap. iS6. 


The early youth of Alessandro was sur- 
rounded with difficulties. His parents had 
sunk into the grave, he had no kind relatives 
to supply their place, nor had he any zealous 
friends to defend his little patrimony against 
the chicaneries of the law, to which it soon 
became a prey. The misfortunes of his youth 
made an impression upon his mind, which was 
never totally effaced. In lib. ii. qiiisito 13. 
of his " Pensieri," he asks, '^ Whether these 
" misfortunes were to be attributed to the 
" month in which he was born, or to the star 
^' that presided at his birth V' This question, 
however, seems rather to have originated in 
the querulous disposition of which his early 
calamities and subsequent disappointments 
were the cause, than in any belief in planetary 
influence, although he was not, in common 
with many other remarkable characters of his 
age, wholly free from that mental weakness, 
or vulgar prejudice. 

Notwithstanding the many difficulties with 
which he had to struggle, and the delicate 
state of his health, which, it may be presumed, 
had suffered from the early want of a mother's 
tender care, he soon began to devote himself, 
with ardour, to the cultivation of his mind. 
In his native Modena he first drank at th^ 


'' Pierian spring." Having made considerable 
progress in the Greek and Latin languages, 
he turned his attention, particularly, to the 
study of poetry and rhetoric. Lazzaro Laba- 
dini, the master who conducted his early 
studies, he has immortalized in the " Secchia 
" Rapita," cant. Hi. st. 30. In enumerating 
the several towns and districts which sent 
forces to the defence of Modena, he mentions 
Bazzovara, in which the villa of Labadini 
stood, and immediately his venerable pre- 
ceptor rises to his recollection. — 

E Bazzovara or cauipo di sudore, 
Che fu d' arrai, e d' amor campo fecondo : 
La dove il Labadin persona accorta, 
Fe il beveroue a la sua vacca morta. 

Now Bazzovara Is a field of toil. 
Where Cupid reap'd of old, a plenteous spoil ; 
Where, records tell, learn'd Labadini thought 
To cure a dead cow, by an healing draught. 

The circumstance alluded to in the last line, 
is thus explained in one of the notes on the 
poem which the author published under the 
feigned name of Salviani*'. Labadini was not 

* WTien Dr. Warton speaks of the illustrations of La Secchia 
Rapita, by Gasparo Salviani, (Ess. on Pope, vol. i. p. 212,) he does 
not seem to have known that the annotations under the name of 


more remarkable for his profound learning 
than for his great simplicity. Intelligence 
was brought to him one morning, that a 
favourite cow had just died at his farm. 
Doubting, or unwilling to believe that the 
animal was actually dead, he ordered the 
messenger to return, and instantly to prepare 
and administer a draught, or beveronef accord- 
ing to the directions which he gave him. 
The servant smiled at the simplicity of his 
master, and retired. Of this fact, says Tas- 
soni, there can be no doubt, for it happened in 
his school, when there were at least two 
hundred witnesses present. 

Under the direction of this learned and 
amiable man, Tassoni pursued his studies with 
great ardour and success, until it was thought 
necessar}^ to remove him to a public seminary. 

From a letter dated the 24th October, 1628, 
addressed to Paganino Guadenzio, a professor 
in the academy* of Pisa, it may be inferred 

Salviani were, as Muratori expresses it, " fattura del medesimo 
** Tassoni." Perrault and Ozell fall into the same error ; (See 
Avert, sur Le Semi E7ilev6. Par. 1678. Preface to the Rape of 
the Bucket. Land. 1715 ;) an error into which they were probably 
led by their finding in the list of the associates of the Umoristi, a 
member of the name of Gasparo Salviani. 

* This academy, after having existed nearly two centuries, and 
having been celebrated for the abilities of its professors and the 


that our author, on withdrawing from the 
discipUne of Labadini, became a member of 
that learned body : it is certain, at least, that 
his residence in Pisa was antecedent to his 
retiring to Bologna, an event which occurred 
in the nineteenth or twentieth year of his age. 
The letter to which we refer, commences with 
the usual pleasantry of Tassoni : " You will 
'' now," says he to his friend, '^ enjoy the 
" thrushes and wine (// Greco) of Pisa* in the 
" land of promise, and abandon, without 
" regret, the onions of Egypt to those un- 
** fortunate beings who raise pyramids in the 
" desert. In my youth," he continues, " I 
" was a member of the college to which you 
" belong, and had there many friends, parti- 
" cularly Florentines. But all the professors 

number of its students, began to fall into disrepute and neglect 
about the year 1472, when it was re-established by Lorenzo de' 
Medici in its former splendor. See Roscoe, Life of Lor. de' Medici^ 
vol. i. p. 152. iond. 1796. 

* Ora V. S. si godera i tordi, e il Greco di Pisa, &c. — II Greco 
is the name of a species of Greek wine much admired in Italy. 
A wine bearing the same name, and probably of the same species, 
is celebrated, by Redi, and said by him to be the product of the 
vicinity of Naplesi .where the vine was, perhaps, introduced by 
some of the Greek colonies that settled in that part of the 
peninsula — 

Di Posilippo e d* Ischia il nobil Greco. 

Bacco in Toscana. „ 


" of that time are dead, and many of their 
" pupils have followed them to the grave*." 
No documents remain that would enable us to 
ascertain the length of his residence in Pisa; 
but it appears from the letter which we have 
just cited, and from some memoranda found 
amongst his papers, that he remained long 
enough in that city to form friendships, and 
to witness the battle of the bridge, which it 
has been customary, for some centuries, to ex- 
hibit every third year. Of this last vestige of 
the gymnastic exercises of the ancients, and of 
the other amusements of the carnival, he gives 
a lively description. While he admits that 
the exhibition of the mock-battle is not less 
delectable than beautiful, (non meno dilettevole, 
che bella,) he laments the danger to which 
the lives of the combatants are necessarily 

Having attained his eighteenth year, Tassoni 
decided (1583) on the profession of the law; 

* In another part of this letter Tassoni gives an hint to his 
friend, which is not unworthy the attention of tutors in general. 
" V. S. non si domestichi molto con gli scolari, e mantenga la 
" gravita magistrale, per non esser disprezzato da loro, come al mio 
" tempo interveniva al Dottor. Talentone da Fivizzano, che voleva 
" far troppo del galantuomo, e del buon compagno, e gli scolari nol 
" lasciavano mai leggere." 


for which he had so fully qualified himself, 
that, immediately on making his election, he 
was presented with honorary degrees in both 
the civil and the canon law. And, in the 
same year, it would seem that he commenced 
his poetical career. '^ I have seen," says 
Muratori, " in the hands of Jacopo Bascbieri, 
*' formerly Chancellor of Modena, a MS. 
" tragedy, entitled ' L'Erico,' in the title page 
" of which was written, by the hand of the 
" author : Linea del decimo ottavo aimo di 
" Alessandro Tassord." In this production 
Muratori discovered beauties which would not, 
in his opinion, disgrace a poet of a more 
advanced age. When the author, however, 
had reached his twenty-second year, his better 
judgment disapproved of this early effusion of 
his muse, and he recorded his disapprobation 
in a short discourse at the end. This discourse 
he entitled, " Locus p{Emte?iti{c.^' 

In the year 1585, Tassoni retired to 
Bologna, in order to pursue his studies in the 
celebrated university of that city% a city 


* This university has been said to have been founded by 
Theoderic the younger, so early as the year 425 ; but Muratori 
ascribes its foundation to the countess Matilda, and to his opinion 
many antiquaries subscribe. " Les ecoles de I'Universite," (of 
Bologna) says De la Lande, " sont dans un beau batiment qui 


which he seems to remember with respect and 
gratitude, when, in " La Secchia Rapita," he 
makes Minerva claim its protection, and 
Apollo acknowledge it as the ancient seat of 
the muses, 

-ove ognor visse 

L'antico studio de le muse^ 

*' donne sur la place derriere S. Petronc ; c'est la plus ancienue 
" et la plus celebre de toutes les universites d'ltalie; on pretend 
" qu'elle fut fondee par Theodose le Jeune, Fan 425, et le 
" diplome en est grave sur un marbre a S. Petrone ; mais Mura- 
" tori rejette une date si ancienne, et la plupart des savans ne la 
" foQt remonter qu'au terns de la comtesse Mathilde." Voy. en 
ltd. torn. ii. p. 252. — " The fabrick of the University," says 
Warcupp, " is very proud, with a large hall, and spacious courts. 
" In the city a,re many colleges for several nations ; and, to speak 
" its praises in one word, 'tis a most happy University, and merits 
" that character wliich all nien giye it ; viz. 

" Bononia docet, et Bononia mater studlomm." 

Hist, ofltahj.fol. 1660. p. 90. 
* La Seech, Rap. cant. ii. In a synod of the gods, which is 
convened on occasion of the war between the Modenese and the 
Bolognese, each of the deities declares the side which he, or she, 
means to take. Minerva says, 

Bologna sempre fu a miei studj intesa, 

Onde tenermi a cintola le mani 

Or non debbo per lei. St. 48. 

Bolonia ever has unweary'd strove 

To cultivate those studies which I love ; 

Nor will I, now occasion calls, with hand 

In girdle stuck, a bare spectator stand. Ozell. 


Here he remained many years under the 
tuition of two eminent professors, Claudio 
Betti, and Ulisse Aldrovandi. To the pro- 
found skill of Betti in explaining the doctrines 
of i\ristotle, he bears honorable testimony. 
" Solus Aristotehs naturam novitj^ says he, 
" et ipsuni felix Interpres Bettus Aristotehm" 
And the botanical knowledge of Aldrovandus, 
is the subject of an eulogium in a MS. note 
in his copy of the " Ercolano" of Varichi, 
which is still in existence. He again men- 
tions him with respect in his " Pensieri," and 
relates, that he saw in his house in Bologna 
the anatomy of the eye of an eagle^. To the 
studies chiefly cultivated by Aldrovandus, he 
seems to have sedulously devoted himself; and 
Ave often find him dwelhng with fondness on 
his praise. 

Apollo then rises, and offers to accompany the martial goddess : 

Vergine bella, i' verro teco anch'io 

In favor di Bologna, ove ognor visse 

L'antico studio de le Muse, e mio. St. 49. 

Bright maid, thou shalt be seconded, he cries, 
Nor singl^'^ shalt engross this enterprise ; 
One int'rest Pallas and Apollo share ; 
Their cause the same, the same shall be their care : 
Bolonia from her cradle has been mine ; 
To me devoted, and the sacred nine. Ozell, 

* Lib. V, quisit, 17. 


Of Betti, thus brought forward, I have not 
been able to find any notices, except the slight 
mention of him by Tassoni, as quoted by 
Muratori. But the unfortunate Aldrovandus 
has been often the subject of biography. 

Ulysses Aldrovandus, descended from an 
ancient and illustrious family of Bologna, was 
born in that city in the year 1522. He 
studied successively in his native city, in 
Padua, in Rome, and in Pisa. When he was 
only twenty-two years of age, he was ap- 
pointed professor of logic in the university of 
Bologna, and soon after removed to the chair 
of philosophy, to which, in compliment to 
him, that of botany was united. There was 
then no botanic garden in that city ; but the 
magistrates, at the suggestion of Aldrovandus, 
formed one (1567), of which they gave him the 
superintendence. This garden was cultivated 
with so much success under his direction, that 
in 1574, it supplied materials for the " Anti- 
^' dotarium Bononiense." This essay was the 
prelude to his Natural History, which he 
extended to sixteen volumes in folio, of which 
gnly four volumes were published in his life- 
time. He died on the 10th of May, 1605, in 
the eighty-third year of his age. It is with 
grief I add, that he had no friend to cheer his 


latter days, or close his aged eyes! Must it 
not wring the heart of every lover of science 
to reflect, that the active and useful life of this 
learned man,— a life passed in acquiring and 
diffusing natural knov>rledge, — should be 
wretchedly terminated in blindness and in 
povert}'^, in an hospital in the very city to 
which his talents gave celebrity, and of which 
the museum that exhausted his patrimony, 
forms one of the most attractive ornaments*! 
Great as the advantages which Tassoni 
enjoyed in Bologna were, he does not seem to 
have benefited much by them; at least his 
expectations were not answered. In a letter 
to a friend, dated in 1602, he says, that after 
sixteen years spent in the pursuit of know- 
ledge in some of the most celebrated acade- 
mies and learned seminaries in Italy, he was 
not able to distinguish i puppacci da i diavoli. 

* De la Laude, in his description of Bologna, says, " Le cabinet 
" d'histoire naturelle est un des plus beaux de i' Italic : il est 
" range dans I'ordre le plus commode, et il y a six salles toutes 
" pleines: les pieces y sont etiquetees; ce qui manque trop sou- 
" vent dans nos plus beaux cabinets, et les petits objets ont des 
'* cliifFi'es relatifs a un catalogue que les curieux peuvent consulter 
" sur le lieu : le Cimeliarchium 'Natures. Ulyssis Aldrovandi, s'y 
" conserve en entier." Voy. en Ital, torn, ii, p. 26T. A minute 
description of this museum may be found in Letters from several 
parts of Europe and the East, vol. ii. lett. 109, 110, 111,112, 
and 113. 


While he resided in Bologna, a ludicrous 
incident occurred, to which there is a malicious 
allusion in " La Secchia Ilapita," cant. i. st. 29* 
Of a vindictive disposition, he has, in the 
stanza in question, '^ damn'd to everlasting 
" fame" the name of a person, or rather of a 
family, from whom he received a slight injury 
at a masquerade during the carnival. Our 
admiration of the humour of this passage is, 
therefore, considerably lessened by our know- 
ledge of the spirit in which it was written. 

Ambitious of excellence in the profession 
which he had chosen, he pursued, with his 
usual ardour, the study of jurisprudence. 
Attracted by the fame of Cremonio, a cele- 
brated professor in Ferrara, he passed some 
time in that city for the purpose of attending 
his lectures. Grateful for the benefit which 
he derived from his instruction, he makes 
honorable mention of Cremonio in his 
" Tenda Rossa." His removal to Ferrara, I 
am inclined to refer to the year 1591, as it 
appears from an inscription upon a monument 
which was erected, in 1590, to the memory of 
Melchior Zoppio% a learned professor of the 
university of Bologna, that he was, in this 

* For this inscription, vid. La Vita del Tassoni by Mnratori, 


year, still a member of that seminary. It is 
probable that his studies in the science of law, 
were completed in Ferrara ; for, in 1592, we 
find him exercising his profession. In the 
document from which this information is 
drawn, he is styled not only juris utriiisque 
DoctoVf but, in allusion to his noble birth, Civis 
Nobilis et hahitator Mutincs. 

Returned to his native Modena, he con- 
tinued, during some years, to devote himself 
seriously and sedulously to the practice of hisi 
profession. But tempted, at length, by the 
encouragement extended to talents in Rome, 
and, perhaps, not insensible to the charms 
which that interesting city must ever offer to 
a mind endued, like his, with classic lore, he 
resolved to quit 

— — le fiorite sponde 
Del bel Panaro, 

The flowery banks of fair Panaro, 

for the immortal shores of the Tiber*. This 

* " Sa fortune," says M. Landi, " n'etant pas proportionnee 
" a sa naissance, il alia a Rome, Tendroit ou cette aveugle deesse 
" tient son tr6ne plus que dans aucun autre lieu, et ou I'on se rende 
" en foule pour participer a ses faveurs." Hist, de la Litt. de 
Vltalie, torn. v. p. ^236. This might have been the case in the time 
of Tassoni ; but, alas ! 

Roma, che reguia 

Fu d' ogn' altra cittade, hor' e niente. Martelli, 


idea, which was coQceived in 1596, was not, 
however, carried into execution until the fol- 
lowing year, in consequence of the death of a 
friend, who, while he bequeathed to him a con- 
siderable legacy, imposed upon him the office 
of executor to his will'*. Having faithfully 
discharged the duties of this office, he pro- 
ceeded to Rome. Here he soon distinguished 
himself by the composition of a dialogue, which 
was handed about in manuscript amongst his 
friends, but never, I believe, printed, entitled, 
" Kagionamento tra il Signor Cavaliere Furio 
" Carandini, ed il Signor Gasparo Prato intorno 
" ad alcune cose notate nel. xii. dell' Inferno 
" di Dante," in which he defends Alexander 
Pheraeusf, and Obizzo, marquis of Este, from 
the charge of tyranny with which the poet 
brands them, and in punishment for which he 

* This friend, whose name was Poliziano, was buried, as he had 
directed, in the monastery of S. Marco in Modena, with the fol- 
lowing inscription upon his tomb, which, as Muratori observes, 
*' sembrasse piu propria a i suoi esecutori," — 
Del Benefizio grate, 
Iddio per me pregate. 

t Muratori inadvertently confounds Alexander Pherasus with 
Alexander the Great, p. b'i. He, however, is not the only writer 
who has fallen into the same error : vid. Vellutello's notes on the 
Inf. cant. xii. Perhaps Muratori was misled by an imperfect 
recollection of an essay written in his youth by Tassoni, entitled, 
La Difesa d'Akssandro Macedojie. 


immerses them in boiling blood ^. This 
dialogue he dedicated to Alessandro d'Este, 
then raised to the dignity of the purple. 
This was an artful step towards ingratiating 
himself with the family of Este, the sovereigns 
of his native Modenaf. However, his first pre- 
ferment proceeded from another quarter. Re- 
commended by his talents to the notice of 
cardinal Ascanio Colonna, son of the famous 
Marco Antonio, called II Trio?ifatoret, he 
was appointed by him to the office of his first 
Secretary, with a liberal salary. This im- 
portant event in his life, is thus recorded by 
himself: afuiOj 1599- Ascanius Cardiiialis 

* Inf. cant, xii, of x^lexander, the name oulj is mentioned ; 
but Obizzo is thus distinguished : 

— quclla fronte che hal pel cosi nero 
'E Azzolino ; e quellaltro, che biondo, 
'E Obizzo da Esti ; il qual per vero 
Fu spento dal figliastro su uel mondo. 

Tliat brow 

Whereon the hair so jetty clustering hangs. 
Is Azzolino ; that spread with white locks, 
. Obizzo of Este, in this world destroy'd 
By his foul step-son. Carey. 

t In La Seech. Rap. caiit. vii. st. 41, Tassoni takes occasion 
to make flattering mention of two of the family of Este. 

:j: IMarco Antonio obtained tliis honorable adjunct to liis name 
for a victory which he gained over the Turkish na>-y in 1571, in 
the gulf of Lepanto. 


Columna Marci Antonii Triumphatoris filius, 
me in mum Secretariuin primarhim accepit cum 
honesthsimis conditionibus. His gratitude now 
awakened his lyre, and he sung the praises of 
his patron, and of his victorious father, in an 
unpubhshed canzone, of which Muratori does 
not regret the suppression, as it was written, 
he says, in the inflated style then in fashion, 
and, therefore, not Hkely to be rehshed at the 
present day. 

Towards the close of this year (1599), some 
flattering prospects were held out, by the court 
of Spain, to the cardinal, which determined 
him to visit that court ; and in the month of 
October following, he proceeded on his 
journey, accompanied by his secretary. Em- 
barking at the nearest sea-port, they soon 
after fell in with the gallies which were con- 
veying Maria de' Medici to Marseilles, to 
share the throne of France with the amiable 
and unfortunate Henry IV.*, and, we 
may add, to afford a sad and singular in- 
stance, how insecure the most exalted con- 

* Muratori, Vita del Tassoni, p, 53. Mezerai, Hist, of France^ 
p. 88. /o/. Lond. 1683. Amongst the attendants of jNIaria, on this 
occasion, was her secret admirer, Ottavio Rinuccini, author of 
VEuridice, the first regular Opera that was publicly exhibited. 
P'inacoth, i)urt i. p. 61. 



dition may prove against the vicissitudes 
of fortune*. 

While Tassoni resided (1602) w^ith his 
patron at Valladolid, a circumstance occurred 
which would hardly deserve to be noticed, if it 
did not serve to show, that the popular super- 
stition in regard to magic, which had so long 
disgraced Europe, still, in a certain degree, 
prevailed. Some person, whose name is not 
recorded, charged Tassoni with having left 
with a lady in Rome, a bottle, or ampolletta, 
containing the figure of a little devil, which 
rose and descended as if it were animated. 
This ridiculous charge Muratori treats with 
the contempt it deserves, and smiles at the 
idea of bottling a devil. Tassoni, however, 
was too prudent to treat with marked con- 
tempt the prejudices of his timef, and there- 

* See Fent07i*s edition of the Works ofEdmmid Waller. Land. 
1729. 06s. p. xvi. 

t About five years before Tassoni was accused of magical 
practices, king James I. (of England) published (1597) his 
Deemonologie, in which the royal author, speaking of incantations 
conducted by figures in wax, undertakes to prove " that such 
" develish artes have bene and are." See Dr. Irving's interesting 
Lives of the Scottish Poets, vol. ii. p. 223. See also, Wariov, 
Hist, of Eng. Poet. vol. iii. Diss, on Gest. Rom. p. xxxvii. 
The practice alluded to by King James, was exemplified in the 
following year (1598) in France. " Comme le roi (Henry III.) 
" etoit encore a Nantes," says M. de Thou, " Jean VaJet, et 


fore thought it necessary to refute the charge 
in along letter, which is still extant, and from 
which several interesting particulars of his 
early life have been drawn. 

In 1602 the intrigues of the cardinal 
Colonna in the court of Spain, were crowned 
with success : he was appointed viceroy of 
Arragon. As the heneplacito of the pope was 
necessary to authorize him to enter on the 
duties of his office, Tassoni was dispatched to 
Rome to solicit the assent of his holiness to 
the appointment of the cardinal. Clement 
V^lll., who then filled the papal chair, received 
Tassoni most graciously; and in the brief, 
dated 2d of September, 1602, which he sent 
to the cardinal, he makes honorable mention 
of his ambassador*. Encouraged by the 

" Jean Talhouet, gentilhomme Breton, auparavant mestre de camp 
" dans les troupes du due de Mercoeur, lui donnerent avis qu'un 
'* pretre nomme Cosme Ruggieri, vouloit attenter a la vie de sa 
" Majeste per les voies detestables de la raagie : que sous pretexte 
" qu'ii savoit peindre, on lui avoit donn6 une chambre dans le cha- 
" teau : qu'il y avoit fait une figure de cire resemblante au roi, 
" qu'il per^oit tous les jours en prononfant de certaines paroles 
" barbares, pour le faire mourir de langueur." Collect. Univ. des 
Mem. particuL relatlj's a I'Uist. de France, torn, liv. p. 58, 

* Gratus etiain fuit adventusfamiliaris tui, et a secretis Alexandri 
Tassoni, quern ut tuum, et ut prtestantera etiam hominem libenter 
vidimus, et ex ejus viva voce cadem, quse de te scire expectabamus. 
uberius non mediocri cum voluptate cognoviraus. 


gracious reception of the pope, he wa& 
induced to solicit the clerical tonsura, which 
was accordingly conferred upon him, by the 
bishop of Sidonia, on the 12th of the follow- 
ing month. Having taken this previous step 
of preparation, he now flattered himself, says 
Muratori, that church preferments, or, to 
borrow his more poetical expression, le rugiade 
ecclesiastiche, would shower in abundance 
upon him ; but, as he truly adds, hopes are 
formed with facilit}^, but not so easily ae- 
Gomplished. No mitre, nor even the cap of a 
more humble dignitary, ever covered the 
tonsura of Tassoni. 

Possessed of the brief, Tassoni returned to 
Spain through Modena, whither he went for 
the purpose of placing hi& natural son, Marzio, 
under the care of a friend. Embarking at 
Genoa, he proceeded by sea. During this 
voyage, he began his " Considerazioni sopra 
" le Rime del Petrarca." " Having," says he, 
'^ no other companion in my vo3^age but 
" these Rime, I beguiled my time in com- 
*^ menting upon them." And, in his preface, 
he adds, " these strictures were partly written 
" during a voyage performed in the depth of 
" winter upon the agitated bosom of a tem- 
" pestuous sea, and between the rocks and 


" shoals of two bleak and barren shores ; and 
" partly," he pathetically continues, " amidst 
" sorrows and vexations." In the remarks on 
Sonnet cix. beginning 

Ite caldi sospiri al freddo cuore ; 
Rompete il ghiac<;io, che pieta contende. 

Go ray warm sighs, go to that frozen heart ; 
Burst the firm ice, that charity denies. 

we find him indulging his wit. " While I 
" was writing these strictures/' says he, " in 
" an inn {le Faucon) on a dreary coast, and 
'' upon the border of a frozen lake at 
" Marti gues in Provence*, I could not but 
" smile at the thawing powers which the poet 
" ascribes to his burning sighs {caldi sospiri), 
" being fully convinced that the ice which I 
" then beheld would not melt before the sighs 
" of the most ardent loverf." — When he 
reached Saragossa, there remained only one 

* " Sur les bords de Petang, du c6te de la mer, est la petite ville 
•' du Martigues, qui ne remonte pas au-dela du treizieme siecle." 
Voy. de Provence, torn. i. p. 217. 

t This is not the only occasion taken by Tassoni to turn into 
ridicule the sighs of Petrarca. " Alexandre Tassoni," saj'^s I'abbe 
de Sade, " a fait des observations sur Petrarque ou il prend quel- 
" quefois la liberte de le tourner en ridicule, au grand scandale 
" des vrais Petrarchistes, compare ses souspirs de Laure dans sa 
" viellesse, au secours de Pise, qui arriva 40 jours apres que la 
^' ville fut prise." Mem. pour la Vie de Petrarq. torn. i. p. 186. 


canzone of Petrarca, which he had not criti- 
cally examined. He had not then turned his 
thoughts to the " Trionfi," because, says he, 
that work was then in little estimation*, on 
account of the gloomy nature of the subject. 
However, when he returned to the court of 
the cardinal, he was obliged to abandon all his 
literary projects, then in contemplation, being 
allowed only fifteen daj^s, after his arrival, to 
prepare for another journey. 

Having acquired, in an eminent degree, the 
confidence of his patron, he was remanded by 
him to Rome, for the express purpose of 
superintending his private affairs. To this 
new employment was annexed a salary of six 
hundred golden crowns; an establishment 
with which he seems to have been perfectly 
satisfied. How long he continued afterwards 
in the service of the cardinal, or whether he 

* It would seem that it Avas only in Italy that the Trionji were 
in little estimation ; for Ascham, in his Schoolemaster, which ap- 
peared in 1589, says, " our Englishmen Italianated have more in 
*' reverence the Triumphes of Petrarche, than the Ge7iesis of 
" Moyses." Fol. p. 25. And IMr. Warton observes, that " in 
" such universal vogue were the Triumphs of Petrarch, or his 
" Trionfi d'AmoTe, that thej'^ were made into a public pageant 
" at the entrance, I think, of Charles Vth into Madrid " Hist, 
of Eng. Poet. Vol. iii. p. 463. This, however, was not the first 
occasion on which the Trionfi were made into a pageant. See 
Hist.andCrit. Ess. on the Rev. of the Drama in Italy, p. 99. note (l). 


was dismissed, or whether he voluntarily re- 
tired, Muratori had in vain inquired. But it 
appears from a letter which he addressed to 
the canonico Sassi, in 1605, that he was then 
his own master. Having shaken off his 
official shackles, he determined to enjoy his 
freedom. It is presumed by his biographer, 
that it was at this time he undertook his 
journey to Calabria, which he seems to have 
visited as " a curious traveller," adding largely 
to the stock of natural knowledge which he 
had acquired under the discipline of Aldro- 
vandus, and which he afterwards diffused 
through various parts of his " Pensieri*." Of 
this journey no particular account remains. 
We cannot, therefore, point out with certainty 
the route he pursued. I am, however, in- 
clined to think, that the account of the 
expedition of Venus to prince Manfredi, 
which embellishes, so delightfully, the tenth 
canto of " La Secchia Rapita," may be con- 
sidered as a narrative of his own voyage to 
Naples. In this account, some of his commen- 
tators seem to think that he followed the 

* Some remarks, which appear to be the result of personal ob- 
servation, upon the fertility of the soil of the kingdom of Naples, 
and upon its corn and wines, may be found in the Pensieri^ lib.x. 
cap. 16. 


" Itinerary" of Rutilius. That RutUius was 
his guide so far as Ostia*, is very probable ; 
but several of the descriptions are so lively, 
that we can hardly doubt of their having been 
written under impressions made from personal 
observation, particularly the glowing picture 
of sunrise in passing Piombino, st. 11; and 
the description of the tempest in st. 20. In 
st* 25 we think we see the enchanted bark- of 
the goddess gliding by the ruined towers of 
Palmaria, or Palmarolaf, and an involuntary 
sigh rises at the recollection of the many 
illustrious prisoners (prigioni illustri) who were 
exiled to this barren island, where they dragged 
a miserable existence in parte occulta e sola, as 
the poet expresses it. In st, 24 we are pre- 
sented with a sketch by the hand of a master, 

Le donne di Nettun vede su'l Hto 

In gonna rossa, e col turbante in testa. 

In scarlet gowns, and lofty turbans dress'd, 

To the throng'd shore, the dames of Neptvnie press'd. 

* Rutilius embarked at Ostia the 9th of Oct. A. D. 416, or 
A. U. C. 1169, to return to his native comitry, (Gaul). So that 
after Tassoni had passed that port, Rutilius could no longer serve 
him as a guide. 

t This island, which is a rock formed of volcanical matter 
thrown up by fire, was called by the ancients Pandataria, and 
made use of as a receptacle for criminals of exalted rank. See 
Sw'mhurne, Trav. in the tico Sicilies, vol. i. p. 75. 


While we read these lines, we think we 
behold a crowd of females, dressed in the 
fanciful costume of their district*, standing 
upon the promontory of Neptune, and eagerly 
gazing at the passing vessel. — From Naples, 
which he denominates 

la reai citta de la Sirenat, 

we may follow Tassoni to Venosa, on the visit 
which it is presumed he made to its accom- 

* In a note on the Secehia Rapita, the dress of the woman of 
the district of Neptune is thus described. " Usano queste il vestir 
** di rosso piu di qualunque altro colore : e il vestito e di tal forma, 
" che qui suol dirsi, che vestono alia Turchesca. Pariando delle piu 
" benestanti, il fondo, o sia lembo della gonna e trinato d'oro a piu 
" d'un giro, e talvolta con andamento d'intrecciatura bizarra, quasi 
" direi a guisa di quelle trinature che vedonsi ne' teatri sopra gli abiti 
" Asiatici. II turbante poi del Tassoni altro non e che una fascia di 
** pannolino, che portano intorno alia testa." — 

The notice bestowed upon the bold promontory of Neptune 
(^Nettuno) by Tassoni, is not the only circumstance which recom- 
mends it to our notice : It is the scene of the Alceo of Antonio 
Ongaro, the first attempt at the Piscatory Drama. And in a 
castle belonging to the Colonna family, upon the same shore, and 
near the ruins of the ancient Antium, this piece was first repre- 
sented. The author was a native of Padua, and a retainer of the 
Farnese family. He flourished at the close of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. As Tasso's pastoral drama was the model which Ongaro 
followed, the Alceo has been wittil3^ denominated I'Amintu bagnato, 
Jan. Nic. Ery. Pinac. i. Crescimbeni, torn. ii. p. 463 — 466. Me- 
nage, Note sopra I'Aminta, p. 290. 

t La Seech. Ran. cant. x. st. 8. 


plished sovereign*, whose musical talents he 
has celebrated in his " Pensierit." It was 
probably on his return from Venosa, that he 
passed through Contorsi, a district of Calabria 
fifteen miles from the gulf of Salerno, where 
he saw a woman named Madonna Carissima, 
who, althou2:h in her ninetv-seventh vear, had 
all her first teeth perfect, and behind them a 
row of new teeth, which he examined, and 
found to be rather less than those which they 
seemed intended, in the course of time, to 
replace. From the healthy appearance of 
this woman, he concluded that she might live 
at least twenty-five years longer J. 

From the kingdom of Naples, on the beau- 
ties of which he so fully and so fondly 
expatiates in his " Pensieri||," Tassoni re- 

* Of this visit, the evidence is only presumptive. 

t Lib. X. cap. 2o. 

+ Fen. lib. v. quisit. 24. WTiether or not Tassoni's prediction 
was fulfilled, we have no means of ascertaining ; but it is a certain 
fact, that the celebrated countess of Desmond lived to a greater 
ape than he presumed Madonna Carissima might reach, and, as 
Lord Bacon expresses it, " did de/itke twice or thrice." — Nat. Hist. 
cent. \'iii. sect. 755. 

II I cannot resist the temptation of transcribing this beautiful 
description. " Napoii ha il cielo, e il mare, e'l monte, e la 
" pianura, e le valli, e i colli, isole, porti, e spiagge, selve, giardini, e 
'* prati, e quanto in somraa la natura ha di bello in una sola vsita : 
" pnde a ragione disse quel poeta, che sembrava parte del cielo 


turned to Rome, where he continued to reside 
many years. Resolved now to indulge, with- 
out restraint, in his favourite literary pursuits, 
he declined entering into the service of any 
of the princes or prelates who wished to 
employ him, knowing, says his biographer, 
how ill the pursuit of letters accords with the 
service of a court. Rendered independent by 
his patrimony, which had probably improved, 
he was not, says Muratori, obhged to become 
the slave of others. 

In Rome his talents soon procured him the 
highest literary distinctions. He was not 
only admitted into the Accademia degl' 
Umoristi, under the name of II Bisquardo*, 

" caduta in terra. Ewi si temperato i! clelo, che a vicenda varia 
" due sole stagioni, Primavera ed Autunno. II mare e placido e 
" cheto, e d'isolette vaghe ripieno, e rincurvando il lido tra le falde 
" di due famosi monte Vesuvio e Pausilipo pare, che corra umile a 
" baciare il lembo di cosi bella citta. I colli di cipressi odorati, 
" d'uliveti, e di frutti son tutli ombrosi ; le valli d'aranchi, e cedri, 
" e di giardini ripiene. I campi, e prati di biade, e di fiori tutti 
" coperti, la citta stessa tutta pomposa, tutta deliziosa ; le strade 
" dirittissime, e nette dell' una, e I'altra parte schierate d'altissirai 
" palagi, con quattro, e cinque ordini di finestre, tutte comiciate 
" di marmo. I tetti quasi tutti ad un medesimo segno, con le 
" grande coperte, e giardinetti pensili in cima pieni di varj fiori." 
Pens. lib. x. cap. 17. 

* The edition of " La Secchia Rapita," which was published in 
1624, appeared under this name. — The device of Tassoni, which 
hung, and which, perhaps, still hangs, in the palace Mancini, is 


but raised to the dignity of piincipe, or presi- 
dent, — an honor which he shared with Don 
Fihppo Colonna, and MafFeo Barberino, after- 
wards pope Urban VIII. Of this academy, 
some account is aheady before the public*. 
Its existence was not of long duration. 
Several vain attempts have been made to 
revive it; even so late as 1717, Clement XI. 
proposed to cardinal Acciajuoli, who in- 
habited the palace Mancini, to invite the fevv^ 
surviving members of the academy to resume 
their meetings in the saloon of that palace in 
which they had formerly assembled ; but the 
cardinal was no friend to the muses; so the 
project fell to the ground. And the walls 
which once reverberated the glowing numbers 
of Marino ^j-, Rinuccini, Preti, Bracciolini, 

thus described by his French biographer : " C'est une scie qui a 
^' commence de scier un bloc de marbre ; a cote est un petit vase 
" avec ces mots Espagnols. Si nonfalta el umor. Plus bas est 
" I'ecusson du Tassoni. Dans la partie superieure, on y voit en 
" champ d'azur, un aigle noir les ailes etendues, et au dessous est 
" un Tesson dresse sur ses pattes." 

* See Hist. Mem. on Itul. Trag. Loud. 1799, p. 158. 

+ The Hunioristi contributed to the monument erected by 
Manso to the memory of Marino, who had been for some years 
their president. See Notes on Cowper's translation of the Latin 
and Italian Poems of Milton, Chich. 1808, p. 299, in which may 
be found many curious and interesting particulars respecting the 
literary history of Italy. 


Chiabrera, and Tassoni, are now adorned with 
paintings by the pupils of the French academy 
estabhshed in 1738, at the suggestion of 
cardinal de Fleury, by Louis XV. 

About this time arose another institution of 
much higher importance, to the promotion of 
which Tassoni contributed, — an institution 
which, in Muratori's opinion, deserves to be 
eternally remembered, not only for the honor 
of Rome, but of all Italy. — -In I6OO, prince 
Federigo Cesi *, duke of Acquasparta, a 
young nobleman addicted to the study of 
Natural History, held occasional literary 
meetings at his palace near the Vatican. At 
these meetings, philosophical subjects were 
freely discussed, and experiments in natural 
philosophy performed. The doctrines of the 
old, or Aristotelian school, were critically ex- 
amined, and their fallaciousness, in many 
instances, exposedf. To mechanics, and to 

* Prince Federigo Cesi was only eighteen years of age when 
he began to form the meetings which gave birth to the academy 
which Muratori so fondly commemorates. He was addicted, 
from his early youth, to the study of natural history ; and on that 
subject, he published some essays which were once admired, but 
are now forgotten. He died in 1630. 

t Agostino Favoriti, in his Vita di Virg. Cesarini, president of 
this academy, thus explains the nature of the institution : " Quo- 
" rum erat Institutum inusitata rerum eventa, quae terris, quae 


all the sciences immediately connected with 
mathematics, much attention was paid ; and 
as Gahleo was a member, it may be presumed 
that astronomy was not forgotten. From 
these meetings sprang (I6O8) an academy 
denominated Dei Lincei, from its device, — a 
lynx, — an animal remarkable for the quickness 
of its sight, and the penetrating power of its 
eye. This institution probably afforded the 
original idea of the Royal Society of London*, 
which began, in a similar way, a few years 
later : indeed Muratori asserts that the 
" Accademia dei Lincei " w^as the model after 
which were formed, not only the Royal Society 
of London, but the respective societies of 
Florence, Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin, and 
Petersburgh, none of which can certainly 
boast an higher, or so high an origin, and all 
of which bear an evident aflinity to the Ro- 
man Academyf. 

" caelo acciderent, in disputationem vocare, causas sedulo inda- 
" gare, et eorum observationibus, aliisque experimentis veterem 
** oinnem philosopbiam Aristotelicam in primis evertere." — A 
list of the original members of this academy is subjoined to the 
edition of the Seech. Rap. printed in Modena, 1744. By this list 
it appears that Galileo was " ascritto nel 1611." 

* It was from literary meetings in a private house at Oxford, 
that the Royal Society of London originated. See Hist, of the 
Roy. Soc. Land. 17S4, p. 53. 

t P'ig. 57. Perhaps the original idea of the Academia dei 


Soon after Tassoni had been associated with 
the " Lincei," he evinced himself well entitled 
to the honor conferred upon him, by the 
publication of " Parte de' Quisiti del Signor 
" Alessandro Tassoni." This work, which 
was intended as a specimen of his " Pensieri*," 
appeared in Modena from the press of Giulian 
Cassiani, in I6O8, with the device of a snail 
sticking against the wall of an house in ruins, 
with the motto succo meo. The author, how- 
ever, affected displeasure at the publication of 
this essay, which he declares in a letter to a 
friend, was printed without his knowledge. 
But it would seem that the printer had not 
incurred his displeasure; for, in the following 
year, the press of Cassiani imparted his " Con- 
" siderazioni sopra le Rime del Petrarca." 
This work was attended through the press by 
the author himself. While he was correcting 

Lincei might be referred to the Academia dei Secreti, instituted, 
m the preceding century, by Giambattista Porta of Naples, for 
the promotion of experimental knowledge, and the promulgation 
of new and useful discoveries. 

* This Parte de' Quisiti is inscribed to the Academia della 
Crusca. Although it does not appear that Tassoni's name was 
enrolled with the members of that celebrated academy, he contri- 
buted to their Vocabolario. Several of the corrections and addi- 
tions in his inedited annotations on the first edition (1612) of that 
valuable work, were adopted in the subsequent editions. M^tra" 
f-ori. Vita del Tassoni, ja. 79. 


the last sheet, the " Annotazioni" of Muzio* 
on the same poet, fell into his hands, and he 
had the satisfaction to find that Muzio enter- 
tained an opinion similar to his own in regard 
to the " Rime " of the bard of Vaucluse. 

But no human bhss is perfect. While 
Tassoni was anticipating the brilliant success 
of his " Considerazioni " from the support 
which, he presumed, they would receive from 
the general conformity of his opinions with 
those of so eminent a critic as Muzio f, he 
was struggling with pecuniary difficulties. 
This we learn from a letter to Annibale Sassi, 
dated from Rome in the following year ; by 
which it appears, that from some cause which 
is not explained, he was deprived, or, to borrow 
his own strong expression, robbed (rubato) of 

* Girolamo Muzio, of Padua, was born in affluence, and died 
(1575) at an advanced age, in indigence. According to Crescim- 
beni, forty years of his life were passed in continual peregrinations. 
His poetical productions have some merit ; but it is as an acute 
critic, and a redoubtable champion for the Holy Faith against the 
heretics, that he is chiefly remembered. His passion for his fair 
pupil, Tullia d'Aragona, throws a soft shade over the asperities of 
his character. 

t As the Annotazioni of JMuzio had not appeared detached 
from his Battaglie, with which they had been originally published, 
Tassoni thought it necessary to subjoin to the first edition (Mod. 
1609) of his Considerazioni, — ** una Scelta delle Annotazioni del 
" Muzio," 


his patrimony in Modena. Hence he was 
compelled to incur debts, and embarrassments 
followed. So that when he set out from. 
Modena for Rome, he had but fifty crowns in 
his purse ; and of these, half were expended on 
the road. 

His literary ardour, however, remained un- 
abated. Soon as he was settled in Rome, he 
resumed his suspended studies, and presented 
to the public his " Considerazioni," which, 
during his former residence in that city, he had 
revised with anxious care ; a task rendered 
necessary by the various un propitious circum- 
stances under which the strictures had been 
written. Satisfied with his work in its im- 
proved state, " I can conceive him calm and 
" confident, waiting, without impatience, the 
" vicissitudes of opinion, and the impartiality 
" of a future, if not of the present generation*," 
little suspecting that the result of his critical 
labours was about to rouse a nest of hornets 
that would, for awhile, disturb his peace, and, 
at length, sting him almost to madness. 

Petrarca was now the idol of the Italian 
nation. Tassoni admired him ; but as his ad- 
miration did not rise to enthusiasm, or dege- 

* Johnson, Life of Milton. 


Uerate into bigotry, he was not blind to his 
faults*; and wisely reflecting that idolaters 
can find nothing to blame in the object of 
their devotion, he was apprehensive that time 
might consecrate the faults of the Tuscan 
bard. With a view then to enlighten the 
deluded or superstitious admirers of Petrarca, 
and to rectify the public taste, which had begun 
to betray some symptoms of vitiation, and to 
lose its relish for pure and genuine simplicity, 
he engaged in the critical work now before 
usf. On this occasion, therefore, (to borrow 

* In his Proemio, Tassoni says, " Mia ititenzione iion fu mai 
" di dir male di questa poeta, il qual ho senipre ammirato sopra 
" tutti i Lirici, cosi antichi, come modenii : ma non e gia ne anche 
" di dovere lasciarsi vendere vessiche per lanterne." Tiraboschi 
admits that it was necessary to moderate the prevailing enthusi- 
astic admiration of Petrarca, because, says he, " alcuni fossero si 
" idolatri di quel gran poeta, che qualunque cosa gli fosse uscita 
" dalla penna si raccogliesse da loro, come gemma d'inestiraabil 
" valore." Stor. della Foes. It. Lond. 1803, vol. iii. p. 436. 

t Tassoni \¥as not the first Italian critic who ventured to point 
out faults in the style of Petrarca : he was long preceded by Pico 
di Mirandola. Roscoe, Life of Lorenzo de* Mtdici, vol. i, p. 311. 
See also Varchi, Ercol. p. 27. The abbe de Sade is, as it may be 
supposed, very angry with Tassoni for the liberties which he took 
with the hero of his elaborate work. Mem. pour la Vie de Pe- 
trarq. torn. i. p. 185. M. de Cehors, his French translator, thus 
vindicates him : " Notre poete," says he, " avoit plus d'inclina- 
** tion pour la galanterie vive et enjouee, que de penchant ii 
" i'amoureuse langueur. Faut-il s'etonner que I'amant de Laure 
" qui se charge toujours de chaJnes, qui ne parle que de son 


the strong language of Johnson,) he may be 
considered as a public benefactor. Soon as the 
press had emitted his work, he sent a copy to 
Marino, who thanked him for the gift in a 
letter expressive of his warm admiration of his 
strictures, congratulating him, at the same 
time, on his courage in venturing to point out 
faults in a poet whom the strength of preju- 
dice seemed to have raised to a height far 
bej^ond the reach of censure. Perhaps Marino 
flattered himself, that as Tassoni had now 
shown that he no longer entertained a blind 
veneration for the early Italian poets, he might 
be tempted to sanction, wdth his approbation, 
and by his example, the new poetic style 
which he had invented*, or rather, indeed, 

" martyre, et presque jamais de ses plaisirs, n'ait pas 6te tout-a-fait 
" de son gout. II le raille avec justice sur ses allusions frequentes 
" de Laure avec Laurier, de Laure avec Aurore, et aure soavi, et 
" sur ses comparaisons eternelles du soleil et d'etoiles avec ies 
" beaux yeux de sa maitresse." Le Seau enlevc. Par. 1759. 
Tom. i. pref. As a specimen of his manner of criticising Petrarca, 
I shall transcribe his concluding remark upon the sonnet dvi. 
" Passa la nave mia colma d'obblio, &c.," which has been so 
highly extolled by the Italian critics : " E de' megliore senz'altro, 
" questo sonetto, ma non e gia incomparabile, come 'lo tengono 
" certi cervelli di Formica, a quali le biche paion raontagne." 
As a further specimen, I would rather refer to, than quote the 
remarks on Sonn. xlii. 

* " Jean-Baptiste Marini," says^i'abbe de Sade, " trouvant la 


adopted from Lope de Vega. Speaking of the 
taste for false wit, which soon afterwards 
became so prevalent throughout Europe, the 
noble biographer of Lope de Vega observes, 
" Marino, the champion of that style in Italy, 
" with the highest expressions of admiration 
" for his model, acknowledges that he imbibed 
" this taste from Lope, and owed his merit in 
" poetry to the perusal of his works*." As 
this false taste had infected some of the early 
productions of Tassoni, and as even tlie first 
canto of " L'Oceano," which he sent as a 
model to a friend who was employed upon a 
poem on the same subject, is thick sown with 
concettij Marino would have been justified in 
forming hopes of his conversion to the new 
school which he had founded, or of which he 
was the head. But if such hopes were 
formed, they were sadly disappointed; for the 
glittering tinsel of the style of Marino and of 
his followers, soon excited the contempt and 
derision of the more mature judgment of 
Tassoni, as we shall have occasion to notice in 
the course of these memoirs. 

" maniere de Petrarque trop naturelle, et trop simple, voulut se 
*' frayer une route nouvelle," La Vie de Petrarq. torn. i. p. xliv, 
* Lord Holland's Account of the Life and Writings of Lope dt 
Vega. Lond. 1806. p. 16.— a work rich in elegant and ingenious 


The public were two years in possession of 
the " Considerazioni," when the defence of 
Petrarca was undertaken by a youthful critic, 
Giuseppe degU Aromatarj of Assisi, then(lfill) 
a student in Medicine in the university of 
Padua. Although he entitled his work, 
*^ Risposte di Gioseffe degli Ajjomatarj alle 
" Considerazioni del Signor Alessandro Tas- 
" soni sopra le Rime del Petrarca,*' his de- 
fence only extended to the remarks on the 
first sonnets of that poet. Roused by this 
unexpected attack^ Tassoni took an immediate 
resolution to reply under an assumed name. 
In twenty-two days after the appearance of 
the " Risposte," he published in Modena, 
*' Avvertimenti di Crescenzio Pepe a Giuseppe 
" degli Aromatarj intorno alle Risposte date 
" da lui alle Considerazioni di Alessandro 
'^ Tassoni sopra le Rime del Petrarca*." By 

* Borrowing some ideas from the letter of Marino alluded to 
above, Tassoni, in pag. 49 of these Avvertimenti, again apologises 
for the seeming severity of his strictures upon Petrarca. " Se," 
says he, " si censurano Fopere di S. Agostino, e di Platone, 
" e d'Aristotele, e d'Omero, uomini tanto maggiori : ben si pos- 
" sono ccnsurare quelle ancora del Petrarca, quando non si fa per 
" raalignita, ma per levar le superstizioni, e gli abusi, che parto- 
" riscono mali effetti, e confonder le sctte de' Rabini, e de' Ba- 
" danai indurati nella perfidia delle anticaglie loro, e di quegli in 
" particolare, che stiniano, che senza la falsa riga del Petrarca 
*' non si possa scrivere diritto," &c. 


this vindication, which was equally ingenious 
and acrimonious, Tassoni concluded he 
would discomfit his puny adversary: a con- 
clusion which the long silence that ensued 
seemed to justify. But, while he was secretly 
enjoying his supposed victory, a masked 
battery was (Opened upon him from an unex- 
pected quarter. In 1612 there issued, under a 
feigned name, from the press of Deuchino of 
Venice, " Dialoghi di Falcidio Melampodio 
" in risposta agli Avvertimenti dati sotto 
" nome di Crescenzio Pepe a Giuseppe degli 
" Aromatarj," &c. These dialogues are sup- 
posed to have been written by his former 
adversary, Giuseppe degli Aromatarj, with the 
assistance of two learned professors of Padua. 
At this new assault, says Muratori, Tassoni 
lost all patience, e mo)itogli la senape at naso. 
But finding that iiis adversary, like another 
Antaeus, rose ^' fresh from his fall," he deter- 
mined to put forth all his strength to subdue 
him. He now adopted a plan of intimidation, 
which was suggested, according to Muratori, 
by the practice of Tamerlane. When a be- 
sieged town did not immediately surrender to 
the summons of that sanguinary conqueror, he 
hung out a red flag, which was intended to 
signify to the inhabitants, that if they did not 


jay down their arms, and open their gates, he 
would put them all to the sword. In imita- 
tion of this system of terror, Tassoni entitled 
his reply to the last attack, " Tenda Rossa (or 
" The Red Flag) risposta di Girolamo No- 
'* misenti ai Dialoghi di Falcidio Melampo- 
" dio, Francofort " (Modena)*, with the 
motto : Ignem gladio ne fodias. This furious 
invective, on which Muratori bestows the 
strong epithets of ^^ pungent e^' and ^^ fulmi- 
*' nente,^ had the expected effect. Giuseppe 
degli Aromatarj retired from the field, rather, 
however, by the advice of his friends, than 
from dread of the wrathful critic ; for it is said 
that he had prepared a reply to the " Tenda 
" Rossa," which he was prevailed on, with 
some difficulty, to suppress. Still he was 
pursued with rancour by Tassoni t, although 
he could not be persuaded, or, at least, was 
unwilling to believe, that a youth of twenty 
could have written the " Risposte." In this 
opinion he was confirmed by the perusal of a 
sonnet by Aromatarj. " There is not," says 
he, in an angry letter to a friend, " an ass in 

* A corrected edition of the Tenda Rossa was printed at 
Venice, 1702, with the original date (1613). 

t " Di Civile passava in Criminale la lite," says Muratori, " e 
*' dalle penne si veniva ai pugnali." p. 60, 


" Sardinia, or an ox in Apulia, that would 
" venture to assert that the sonnet and the 
" ' Risposte' were written by the same per- 
" son;" forgetting, in his wrath, that an in- 
different poet may prove an acute and judi- 
cious critic. Having conceived this idea, he 
listened eagerly and gave implicit faith to a 
whisper that reached his ear, accusing Paolo 
Beni, and Cesare Cremonino of Cento, tv»"o 
professors in the university of Padua, of 
assisting Giuseppe degli Aromatarj in his 
animadversions on his " Considerazioni." 
And, under this impression, he asserts, per- 
haps upon very slight grounds, that when II 
Beni heard of the appearance of the " Tenda 
" Rossa," he fled from Padua in a fright. 
Persuaded of the guilt of Cremonino, he ridi- 
cules, in that publication, the length of his 
nose, and oppugns his doctrine in regard to 
the immortality of the soul*. Such are the 
dreadful effects of the passions upon the 
charities of the human mind! If the private 
character of a man should be attacked with 
brutal insolence, he may be excused if he 
should reply with some degree of asperity ; 

* Tiraboschi considers the Tenda Eossa as a " libretto pieiio di 
" fiele contro il suo awersario, e die non dee prendersi per inodello 
" dello stile da teuersi nelle dispute tra letterati." Vol. iii. p. 437. 


but rancorous invective is quite inexcusable 
when the point in dispute is merely a beauty 
or a blemish in the sonnet or canzone of a 
love-sick poet. 

Giuseppe degii Aromatarj, the puny adver- 
sary whom we have seen Tassoni combating 
with so much fury, abandoned the thorny 
path of criticism on dismissing his " Dialoghi" 
from the press, and retired from Padua to 
Venice, where he continued to practise as a 
physician until the stroke of death, at an 
advanced age, numbered him with his patients. 
His ashes repose in the parish of San Luca, 
where he had resided fift}^ years. He left 
many pieces on medical subjects, of which the 
" Treatise on Canine Madness*" alone has 
been printed. This treatise, whatever its 
other merits may be, is, at least, valuable as a 
record of the mode of treating in Italy, in the 
seventeenth century, one of the most dreadful 
maladies upon which the medical art has yet 
been exercised. U\ as Ap. Zeno insinuates, 
the brain of Aromatarj was affected by the 

* This Avork (De Rahie contagiosa) was sinking fast into ob- 
livion, Avhen an attack by Redi upon an opinion advanced b3r the 
Author, respecting the generation of animals, drew it into notice. 
See Hist, de la Litt. d'Jtal. torn. v. p. 167. 


rough treatment which he had experienced at 
the hands of Tassoni, it may be presumed 
that he contributed, occasionally, to swell the 
bill of mortality within the range of his 

While the " Red Flag" was still raised in 
terrorerrif another admirer of Petrarca circu- 
lated a bitter sonnet, under the name of padre 
Livio Galanti, against his commentator, who, 
it must be admitted, seems to have exercised, 
in some instances at least, more wit than 
critical skill in his strictures^. To this sonnet 
Tassoni replied in a satirical poem of the same 
form; a species of poetical invective in which, 
according to Crescimbeni, he was allowed to 
excelf. Both these sonnets are preserved in 
the " Vita del Tassoni" by Muratori : but as I 
am confident my readers would feel as little 
pleasure in perusing, as I should have in 
transcribing them, I shall not sully my page 
with either. The sonnet of Tassoni only 

* Tiraboschi admits that Tassoni considered the Rime of 
Petrarca rather " too curiously," and that he seemed anxious to 
discover " il pelo nell'uovo, e trovare errori ove niun altro li trova." 
Vol. iii. p. 437. 

t Tom. V. p, 148. See also, Muratori, Perf. Foes. Jtal, torn, ii. 
p. 464. 


evinces his dexterity in " flinging dirt;" in- 
deed he might safely have challenged all his 
antagonists in the words of Gay's Polly, 

Let's try who best can spatter. 

Amongst the French critics too, Petrarca 
found a champion. Baillet, author of " Les 
" Jugemens des Savans," stepped forth in his 
defence. But as Menage asserts, that he had 
never read the " Rime" of Petrarca, and was 
only acquainted by hearsay with the strictures 
of Tassoni, his enterprise may be allowed to 
rank witn the wild adventures of the knight 
of La Mancha. 

While Tassoni's mind was in a state of 
irritation from the reiterated attacks of the 
critics, he conceived (16II) the idea of writing 
a Mock-Heroic poem ; in which, while he per-^ 
mitted his vein of wit and humour to flow 
freely, he might indulge in the virulence of 
invective against the open and secret enemies 
of his literary reputation^*. Hence La Sec- 

* A similar cause gave birth to the Dunciad. If, as Dr. John- 
son says, the hint of the Dunciad is confessedly taken from 
Di'yden's Mac Flecno ; perhaps the hint of Dryden's poem may be 
traced to the Secchia Rapita, which was certainly the first speci- 
men that appeared in a modern language of personal satire 
ludicrously pompous. The Italian poem, it must be allowed. 


CHiA Rapita ; a poem which has obtained for 
the author the honourable distinction of the 
inventor of a new species of Epopee*; for, as 
Dr. Warton observes, '' we know so little of 
" the * MargiLes' of Homer that it cannot be 
" produced as an examplet-" Indeed Tassoni 
seems anxious to estab]ish his claim to the 
honor which lias been assigned him. " It is 
** true," says he, in his preface, " that 3ome 
'' of the Tuscan versifiers have formerly 

" mino-led humorous and serious matter in 


" their poems, such as Berni and PulciJ. 

possesses an advantage over the English poems alluded to : the 
fable is more intejesting and better conducted, and, in order to be 
enjoyed, stands less in need of illustration, — even at the remote 
period of two centuries. 

From an anecdote related b}^ Mr. Malone in his Life ofDryden, 
vol. i. p. 481, it appears that he (Dryden) did not deny, that in 
his Mac Ftecno he had obligations to La Secchia Rapita. 

* " The natives of Modena," says Gibbon, " were distinguished 
" in tlie arts and sciences; and, like the pastoral comedy, the 
" Mock-Heroic poetry, of the Italians was invented by Tassoni, 
" a subject of the house of Este." Miscel. Works, vol. iii. 
p. 462. Duh. 1796. 

t Ess. on the Gen. and Writings of Pope, Lond. Vol. i. 
p. 211. 

X Crescimbeni admits that neither Berni nor Pulci can be 
truly said to have preceded Tassoni in the heroi-comic walk of 
poetry ; but he insinuates, that La Gigantea of the Gobbo of Pisa, 
and La Nanea of F. Aminta, both of which were printed so early 
as 1566, give some right to tlieir respective authors, to dispute 


" But Berni did not compose an epic poem ; 
" he only added a few stanzas to the cantos 
" of Bojardo'^'. And Pulci, ignorant of the 
" epic art, took a wrong course, singing, in 
" paltry verses, improbable adventures, and 
" puerile tales." To the '' Margites" of 
Homer he makes no allusion f. In Braccio- 
lino of Pistoja, however, he was threatened 
with a rival who seemed inclined, and with 
apparent justice, to dispute the palm with 
him. In point of publication, Bracciolino 
certainly preceded him ; for his Mock-Heroic 

that honor with him, torn. i. p. 358. From Tassoni's silence, 
however, in regard to these poems, it may be inferred that he was 
either unacquainted with, or had no obligations to them. Pro- 
bably they were not seasoned with wit enorgh to presei-ve them ; 
for Crescimbeni is the only Italian writer by whom I can recollect 
to have seen them mentioned, except Apostolo Zeno, whose account 
of these neglected poems is full and satisfactory. See Biblioth. 
ddla Efog. ltd. torn. i. p. 294, 295. 

* It is hardly necessary to observe that Tassoni, for, I fear, the 
illiberal purpose of deceiving his readers, misrepresents the poem 
of Berni. See Roscoe, Life and Pontif. of Leo X. vol. i. p. 83. 
See also, Gravina, Delia rag. Poet. Lond. 1806, p. 193. 

t It is probable, however, that he had the Margites in his eye, 
for the name of the hero of that poem is derived from a Greek 
word signifying foolish, ignorant ; (See Pye, Comm. on Poet, of 
Aristotle, ch. iv. 7iote 2.) and Tassoni assigns to his hero, imbe- 
cility of mind. Salvini supposes that the Margutte of Pulci was 
borrowed from the Margites. See Satir. di Salv. Rosa, Avi^t. 
1788. p. 118, note (2.) 

46 MEMOIRS or 

poem of the " Scherno degli Dei " appeared 
in 16I8, and the earliest edition of " La 
" Secchia Rapita," is that of Paris, 1622. 
But it is a fact well ascertained, that Tassoni 
began his poem in the month of April, 16 11, 
and finished it, according to the original plan, 
in ten books, in the month of October follow- 
ing*. ^' The rapidity with which it was com- 
" posed," says he, " was matter of astonish- 
" ment to my friends Monsignor Antonio 
" Querenghi, Fulvio Testi, and others." 
And he adds, with an overweening vanity that 
would be hardly pardonable in a youthful 
author, that no work was ever better, or more 
eagerly received : " in one year," sa3's he, 
" more copies of it were circulated in manu- 
'^ script, than were ever disseminated, even in 
" ten years, of the most admired works that 
" have yet issued from the press." Here his 
vanity renders his veracity questionable. 
But when he tells us " that one copyist alone 
*^ made so many copies of it at eight ducats 

* On this point both the indefatigable Muratori {Vita, p. 80 J, 
and the judicious Tiraboschi, (Star, della Foes, Ital. vol. iii, p. 442,) 
seem to be perfectly satisfied : to the testimony of the " cavalieri 
" e prelati che allor viveano," to which the author refers, they 
yield implicit faith. Ap. Zeno was also convinced. See Bibliot. 
della Elog. Ital. torn. i. p. 295. Ven, 1753. 


" each, that in a few months he realized about 
" two hundred ducats," we presume he speaks 
truth, and we feel obliged to him for acquaint- 
ing US with the terms on which copyists, in his 
time, exercised their profession. While the 
" Secchia Rapita" wandered about in manu- 
script, Muratori supposes it fell into the 
hands of Bracciolino*, and suggested to him 
the idea of writing a poem of the same mixed 
kind ; perhaps it did more ; the quarrel 
amongst the gods in canto ii. might have fur- 
nished him with the subject of his " Scherno 
" degli Deif." On this, however, we do not 
insist; for, as Mr. Hayley justly observes, 

* Some account of Bracciolino may be found in Hist. Mem. on 
Jtal. Trag. p. 143. 

t I shall borrow from M. Landi an account of the subject of 
Bracciolino's poem. '* Lo Scherno degli Dei" says he, " est une 
" turlupinade tres-ingenieuse des dieux de la Gentilite. On y 
" fait entrer les fables principales qui les concernent tournees 
" d'une facon plaisante, et ces diverses fables, au moyen des in- 
" ventions et additions de I'auteur, forment un ensemble et une 
" action ou le ridicule est sem6 a pleines mains. Cette action 
" consiste dans les amours de Mars et de Venus, et dans la ja- 
" lousie de Vulcain, dieu de son cote libertin jusqu'au plus affreux 
" exces. Tous les dieux s'interessent pour I'un ou pour I'autre 
" parti ; il en arrive les plus belles scenes du monde ; mais la 
" maniere dont se fait le divorce entre Venus et Vulcain est un 
" trait des plus spirituels qui aient ete enfantes par la fantaisie 
" chaude des poetes." Hist, de la Litt. de Vital, torn. v. p. 307. 


" the petty circumstances by which great 
" minds are led to the first conception of 
" great designs, are so various and volatile, 
" that nothing can be more difficult to dis- 
*' cover*." The appearance of this poem, to 
whatever cause it may owe its birth, was 
matter of much alarm to Tassoni. In a letter 
to his friend, the canonico Annibale Sassi, 
dated in April, 1718, he says, " he under- 
^' stands that Bracciolino of Pistoja is em- 
" ployed on a poem of a nature similar to his 
" own, and that therefore it would be neces- 
'^ sary to print one hundred copies of it, to 
" save it from danger, — perlevarla dipericolo.'' 
Previous to this period, many attempts had 
been made by Tassoni in Modena, in Padua, 
and in Venice, to get his poem printed; but 
unforeseen obstacles still occurred to render 
all those attempts abortive. Anxious to es- 
tablish his claim to the invention of a new 
species of Epopee by the mean of the press, 
Tassoni felt all those disappointments deeply ; 
and forgetting that the true cause originated 
in the restrictions under which the press then 
labouredf, he ascribed it to an unfortunate 

* Life of Milton, p. 251. 

t In a letter, however, to Barisoni, dated 27th Oct. 1617, he 
acknowledges that Cassiani, the printer, " che doveva stampare 


conjunction of the planets^; yet, with an in- 
consistency which excites our astonishment, 
he ridicules a judicial astrologer in the very 

** la Secchia, era andato prigione per aver stampate alcurie Rime 
" di Fulvio Testi contra gli Spagnuoli." The fate of Cassiani, 
and the dread of the Inquisition, to which the poem had been de- 
nounced, deterred the other printers of Modena from undertaking 
an impression. In another letter to Barisoni, Tassoni speaks 
with great contempt of the person employed by the Holy Office 
to examine his poem. I remember him well, says he, " e stato 
" qui un tempo, ed era tenuto per un solennissimo balordo; trans- 
" figurava il Petrarca," he continues, " applicando i sospiri, e le 
" lagrime di Lanra a quelle di Papa Clemente," &c. This is the 
intemperate language of disappointment. In consequence of the 
report of the " solennissimo balordo," some obstacles to the pub- 
lication of the Secchia were raised by the Inquisition ; but they 
were soon removed. 

* In a letter on this subject to Barisoni, dated 9th July, 1616, 
he says, " V. S. ha opinione, che si possa stampare la Secchia 
" mentre I'autore ha congiunti il sole, e la Luna in quadrato di 
" Satumo, che sta nella nona : e io tengo di no, e non ne aspetto 
" se non male, perche la congiunzione del sole alia Luna suol far 
" cose notabili, ma non cose buone. II successo ne chiarira." 
If we should be tempted to smile at the ridiculous notion ex- 
pressed in this letter, we must, at the same time, lament the 
weakness of human nature, when we recollect how highly 
endowed and cultivated the mind was which entertained it. This 
letter, however, decides a long disputed point : it proves that an 
attempt was made to print the Secchia Rapita two years before 
the Scherno degli Dei appeared. The letter was written in 1616, 
and the Scherno first issued from the press in 1618. Yet 
Dr. Warton asserts that the Scherno was printed four years after 
the Secchia, Ess. on Pope, vol. i. p. 212. 


poem he was about to publish''^. But while 
he was waiting until the stars should become 
propitious, he employed himself occasionally 
in revising the poem ; and at the suggestion 
of his friend Barisoni, whom he often con- 
sulted during the progress of the revision, and 
by whom the arguments to the first ten cantos 
were composedf, he added two cantos. By 
the advice also of this judicious friend, he 
altered a passage in cant. iii. st, 11, which it 
was feared would give offence to the count of 
Bismozza, a nobleman of Ferrara, to whom it 
might be applied. Instead of 

II Conte di Bismozza, e di Culagna, 

he substituted, 

II Conte della rocca di Culagna. 

Although the count di Bismozza, who was, he 
says, a ^^ vantatore" and a ^' poltrone" might 
have furnished some traits in the character of 
his leading hero, the count di CulagnaJ, yet it 

* Cant. vii. St. 20. 

t " II sig. Abate Alb. Barisoni Tanno stesso(161l)che fu com- 
" posta, le fece gli argomenti, e la porto a Padova, dove fu letta 
" con universale applauso, e quindi mandata in diverse parti." 
Gas, Salviani ai Lettori, 

J In the count di Culagna we seem to recognise the prototype 


was generally believed in Modena, though he 
denied the charge^, that he shadowed under 
that name, the Count Paolo Brusantino, author 
of " Dialoghi de' Governi/' merely because 
he suspected his secretary, Dottor Majolino, 
of being concerned in writing some of the 
strictures on his " Considerazioni," which ap- 
peared anonymously f. 

Having vainly endeavoured to find a pub- 
lisher in Italy, he at length (1621) sent his 
manuscript to Paris, where it was printed in 

of the Sir Plume of Pope, But if Sir George Browne was justly 
angry with Pope for making him talk nonsense, Count Brusantino 
had more reason to be displeased with Tassoni for the liberty 
which he took with his moral character ; for, not content with re- 
presenting him as a consummate coward, he makes him devise a 
plan for poisoning his wife. 

* Pope denied that he alluded to the duke of Chandois in his 
Essay on Taste, yet it is still believed that he had that nobleman 
in his eye when he drew the character of Timon. Nor is more 
faith given to Tassoni's assertion that the count di Culagna was an 
ideal personage. Tassoni, like Pope, was, I fear, m^an iu his 

t Barotti, in the elaborate preface prefixed to the edition of L<i 
Secchia Rapita, printed at Modena, 1744, says, " Venne in brieve 
" a sapere, che chi le scrisse, e pubblico fu un certo Dottor Majo- 
" lino, e che il conte Alessandro Brusantini vi aveva avuto gran 
*' mano." It is with pain I add, in the words of Barotti : " Fece 
" il Tassoni un iraraenso fuoco, per cui Majolino venne arrestato 
" prigione in Reggio, processato, cd essaminato per discoprire la 
" tresca."— P. 6. 


the following year under the direction of Sig. 
Pier Lorenzo Barocci, secretary to the marquis 
di Calluso, with the simple title of " La Sec- 
" chia." It was, probably, to the exertions of 
Barocci that he was indebted for the removal 
of some obstacles to the publication of the 
poem, which, it is said, had been secretly 
raised by Marino^, then residing in Paris, 
who was supposed to be jealous of the ex- 
panding fame of his friend ; and, perhaps, 
justly apprehensive that " the weighty bullion 
" of his lines" would be preferred to the tinsel 
which he (Marino) was endeavouring to im- 
pose upon the public. In the 3^ear 1624 he 
published a corrected edition at Rome, with 
the first canto of his unfinished poem entitled 
" L' Oceano," feigning Ronciglione to be the 
place of publication. In this edition the word 

* The truth of this fact, which is related by Fontanini, (Bibliot. 
della Eloq. ltd. Ven. 1753, to7n. i. p. 292,) on the axithority of 
Mutio Dandini, bishop of Sinigaglia, from the information of 
Jean Chapelain, author of La Pucelle d'Orleans, is questioned by 
Muratori. We should not, however, wonder much if Marino 
attempted to retard, or prevent, the publication of a poem in 
which he is ridiculed under the name of Alessio. — Cant. iii. 
St. 55. And again in cant. ix. st. 14. In cant. xi. st. §8. 
there is undoubtedly a ludicrous imitation of his style. Ap. 
Zeno seems inclined to think that some obstacles to the publi- 
cation of this poem were raised by Marino. — Bibliot. della Eloq. 
It. torn. i. p. 294. 


*' Rapita" (or Rape) is added to the title, for 
which the editor assigns a ridiculous reason : 
" Not merel}'," saj-s he, " because such an 
*^ adjunct was suitable to the subject, but 
" because the copies of the poem were so 
" greedily bought up, that people did, as it 
" were, ravish them from each other." In 
fact, however, the title was imperfect without 
the adjunct " Rapita." In 1625 another edi- 
tion was published at Rome by the same 
editor, with further corrections by the reigning 
pontiff, Urban VIII.* ; a prince of much taste, 
and himself a poet. Of this edition, with which 
Tassoni seems to have been perfectly satisfied, 
he sent (1625) a copy, in manuscript, to the 
conservators of the city of Modena, which he 

* Of the corrections suggested by Urban, the following ac- 
count is given by Tassoni in a letter to a friend : " Nostro 
" signore ha voluto leggere la Secchia, e ora vorrebbe, che si 
" mutassero alcune parole, come il Piviale, e il Pastorale. Non 
•' S3, che farerao." Although he did not approve of the pro- 
posed alterations, he received them with courtly complacency ; 
and by a little artifice, which is explained by Barotti, he deceived 
his holiness into a belief that he had adopted them. " 11 papa 
" doveva ubbidirsi. Le mutazioni furono fatte ; ma tuttavia la 
" prima edizione usci come stava. Anzi elia e tanta I'abbon- 
" danza della prima stampa, e tanta la scarsezza della corretta, 
" che io credo di poter dire, che assai poche copie della seconda 
" fossero impresse, e tante solamente, quante bastavano per 
"' afFermare con verita, che jl papa era stato ubbidito." — P. 30. 


desired " che si leggesse nellepubliche stampe" In 
a note written with his own hand in this copy, he 
claims the invention of the mock-heroic poem, 
and acknowledges Modena as the place of his 
birth ^. On the 15th of April, in the same year, 
he received a letter of thanks from the conser- 
vators, full of expressions of esteem and affec- 
tion^ and accompanied with a requisition, that 
he would be pleased to accept a small token 
of their gratitude, which would be presented 
to him by his friend, the Cavaliere Testi. 
This gift was a sum of one hundred Roman 

* The inscription runs thus : " Questo Poeraa di nuova spezie 
" inventata da lui Alessandro Tassoni, il dona scritto di sua 
" mano agl' lUustrissimi Signori Conservatoii della citta di 
" Modena, sua patria, in testimonio dell' osservanza che porta 
" lore." On this inscription Mr. Hayley observes : " The cele- 
" brated Alessandro Tassoni, who is generally considered as the 
" inventor of the modem heroi-comic poetry, was so proud of 
" having extended the limits of his art by a new kind of corapo- 
*' sition, that he not only spoke of it with infinite exultation in 
" one of his private letters, but even gave a MS. copy of 
" his work to his native city of Modena, with an inscription, in 
*' which he styled it a new species of poetr^r, invented by 
** himself." See Pref, to the Triumphs of Temper, a delicious 
poem, written on the model of La Secchia Rapita, in which the 
ingenious author has succeeded, most happily, in his attempt, as 
he modestly terms it, " to unite some touches of the sportive 
" wildness of Ariosto, and the more serious sublime painting of 
" Dante, with some portion of the enchanting elegance, the 
" refined imagination, and the moral graces of Pope." 


crowns. For an account of the many editions 
of this celebrated poem, which followed that 
of 1625, I shall beg leave to refer the reader 
to the catalogue prefixed to the last and best 
edition, printed at Modena in 1744, under the 
direction of Muratori and Barotti*. 

* In 1678 M. Pierre Perrault, celebrated for his controversy 
with Boileau, published a prose translation of La Secchia Rapita ; 
to which he prefixed an able critique upon the poem. To this 
undertaking Perrault was probably led by the success of thq 
Lutrin, (written on the model of Tassoni's poem,) the first four 
cantos of which appeared in 167'4. As the Lutrin was the first 
decided imitation of La Secchia Rapita, I shall give an account 
of its origin from the preface to the last edition : The story of the 
Lutrin, or Desk, being related in the presence of M. le premier 
President de Lamoignon, who is shadowed, in the poem, under 
the name of Ariste, " il proposa un jour," says the editor, 
" a M. Despieaux d'en faire le sujet d'un poeme, que I'on pour- 
" roit intituler La Conquete du Lutrin, ou Le Lutriii enlevS ; a 
" I'exemple du Tassoni, qui avoit fait son poeme de La Secchia 
" Rapita, sur un sujet presque semblable." — OEuvr. de M. Boi- 
leau Despreaux. Glasg. 1759. torn. ii. avis au Led. p. xiv. This 
decisive fact hi regard to the origin of the Lutrin, must have 
been unknown to Dryden; for he says, speaking of La Secc/ua 
Rapita, " Boileau, if I am not deceived, has modelled from 
" hence his famous Lutrin.''^ — Ded. to the Sat. of Juvenal. 

Before I close this note, I shall observe, that another prose 
French version of La Secchia Rapita, by M. de Cahors, appeared, 
anonymously, at Paris in 1759. However superior this version 
may be iu elegance of diction, it certainly is infinitely inferior, in 


The first canto of the poem of" L'Oceano */' 
which is usually subjoined to the " Secchia 
" Rapita," may be considered as the vestibule 
to the splendid edifice, glittering with tinsel 
ornaments, which Tassoni once intended to 
raise to the memory of Columbus. This un- 
finished essay, which now demands our notice, 
I shall consider in detail. 

Having announced the subject of the poem, 
the author addresses an elegant compliment 
to Carlo Emanuele, duke of Savoy, and soli- 
cits his patronage. Without further prepara- 
tion, we are told, that Columbus, who is called 
il domator de Z'oce«/?o, having passed the pillars 

point of fidelit^"^, to that of M, Perrault. A critique upon the 
poem is prefixed, and a hfe of the author subjoined, to this trans- 
lation. In 1710 an Enghsh metrical translation was undertaken 
by Ozell ; but he was not, I presume, encouraged to proceed, as 
he stopped at the third canto. His specimen was printed in the 
same year by E. Sanger, with a preface, notes, and the original 
text. Of this version an incorrect account is given in torn, xxii. 
art. 13, 2>. 439, of Gior, de' Lett, d' Ital.—The running title of 
this version is. The Trophy-Bucket ; the full title. The Rape of 
the Bucket. An heroi-comical Poem. The frst of the kind. 
Made English from the original Italian of Tassoni, by Mr. Ozell. 
Lond. 1715. A second edition, by Curl, appeared in 1715. 

* The title of this poem is justly censured by my friend Sig. 
De Ocheda : " II titolo stesso dell' opera mi dispiacque, mentre 
" non indica gia le azioni di un eroe, o di uomini ullustri, ma 
*' piutosto la descrizione del mare." 


of Hercules, (Gibraltar,) launches into the 
deep. No danger threatens ; the sea is smooth, 
and the heavens clear and serene. " It would 
seem," says the poet, " that Thetis took plea- 
" sure in seconding the great designs of the 
" hero." Morning is described. Aurora ap- 
pears crowned with roses and amaranths ; and 
while she opens the portal of the east, casts 
a languishing look upon her paramour, the 
rising Sun. The trumpets sound on the ap- 
proach of morning ; the dolphins gambol round 
the vessels; and Columbus, sitting upon the 
prow of his ship, addresses an animating ha- 
rangue to his companions, who are assembled 
around him. While he speaks, the African 
shores disappear, and the eye wanders over a 
vraste of waters. The proud monarch of the 
infernal regions, (II superho re de V aer denso^,) 
weighing the heroic project of Columbus, 
augurs ill to his power should the expedition 
succeed. He then summons his ministers, 
and addresses them in wrathful accents. He 
orders the spirits who have in charge the 
ocean and the regions of the west, to impede 

* Satan is here called " II re de 1' aer denso," in allusion to 
the title which the evil spirits bear in Scripture, where they are 
sometimes termed " rulers of the darkness of this world." — 
EpA. vi. li^. 


the course of Columbus, and frustrate all his 
plans, else he will pour all his vengeance upon 
their heads. " I will bind you/' says he, 
" with eternal chains, amidst the fires and the 
" ice of the infernal marshes." — Tra ^l fuoco, 
e 7 giel de le palude iuferne'^. The flight of 
the spirits of hell on their mission is described. 
The sun is darkened as they pass. The storm, 
which the spirits raise, is then well described. 
It is the description of a poet who had en- 
countered a storm : what pity it should be 
disgraced with the following hyperbole ! 

Sembra la pioggia, al cader folto e spesso, 
Che giu nel Mare un' altro Mar si versit. 

* This threatened mode of punishment is evidently borrowed 
fVom Dante, Inferno^ cant. iii. st. 86. On the subject of this 
notion of the existence of 

" Thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice," 

see a curious and learned note on Dr. Sayer's sublime poem of 
the Descent of Frea, p. 8. Poems. Norw. 1807. See also Todd's 
ed. of Milton's Poet. Worlis, vol. ii. p. 134. Lond. 1801. 

t Extravagant as this image may seem, it is, in some degree, 
justified by the relation of navigators who have explored tlie 
great ocean in which the Canaries lie. Dr. Pinckard, in de- 
scribing the showers of rain which fall in the West Indies during, 
what is termed, the wet season, says, " The torrent which falls 
'' might often convey the idea of a sudden rupture of the 
" clouds, letting forth their waters in streams to the earth." 
Notes on the West hidies. Land* 1806. vol. ii, p, 88. 


As all human skill had failed, and destruc- 
tion seemed inevitable, Columbus implores 
the assistance of the Almighty. His prayer is 
propitiously heard ; and Uriel, the tutelar 
angel of Spain, is dispatched to his relief. 
While the celestial messenger descends, thun- 
ders roll around, and the earth trembles from 
pole to pole. But Uriel is described in his 
descent, not as a bright inhabitant of heaven 
sailing through the air on outspread wings, 
but like the sun, detached from the firmament 
and falling to earth. 

parve, a i lampi e a le fiammelle sparte, 

Che giu cadesse il sole in quel la parte. 

The angel is then compared to a falcon 
pouncing on his prey. Directing his flight 
amongst the infernal spirits, he disperses them. 
The winds sink, and the ocean becomes smooth 
and tranquil. Columbus perceiving the angel 
combating, con la spada, with the iniquitous 
band, — V inique schiere, — gratefully acknow^ 
ledges the interference of Providence. A calm 
ensues. And soon after the Fortunate Isles (the 
Canaries) appear in view. The spacious port 
of one of these isles tempts the fleet to enter. 
The island is described, but in general terms. 
Although the author seems to have had the 


island of Venus in the '^ Lusiad" in his eye*, 
he does not, like Camoens, enter into a minute 
and glowing description of the elysian scene 
to which he first conducts his hero. He pre- 
sents no picture to the imagination. But he 
introduces us to a group of nymphs dancing 
in a valley, upon a verdant carpet. On per- 
ceiving the Spaniards they all fly, except one, 
whose dress and personal charms are happily 
described. Seizing her bow, she directs two 
arrows, tipt with gold, amongst the intruders, 
and in an angry tone censures their audacity. 
After a little hesitation, Columbus determines 
to land all his martial train, and pitch his 
tents. A more minute description of the 
island follows, but still the terms are too 
general t- The various arts employed bj^ the 

* Tassoni, whose fancy seems to have delighted more in ex- 
cursions to the gloomy cave of Spleen, than in wandering through 
the romantic wilds of Fairy Land, appears to have drawn little 
from his own imagination for the embellishment of his Island of 
Bliss : to Camoens, Ariosto, and Tasso, it probably owes many of 
its beauties. 

t Dr. Beattie remarks the same fault in the descriptions in the 
Henriade of Voltaire, which, like L' Oceano, was the production of 
early youth. 'Life of Beattie, vol. i. lett. 28. But the lively descrip- 
tions in the dispatches of Columbus, of some of the islands which 
he discovered, might haA'^e enriched the fanc3'^ of Tassoni, and taught 
liim to describe pastoral sceneiy with the minuteness necessary to 


nymphs to allure the Spaniards to their em- 
braces, are detailed minutely, but with more 
regard to modesty than the poet's model, 
Camoens, has shown, or than either Ariosto 
or Tasso can boast. Beside a clear stream, 
and beneath the shade of a laurel, a lovely 
nymph appears, playing upon a golden lyre. 
To the accompaniment of her instrument she 
sings, with a melodious voice, a canzone in 
praise of love^. This song, and the wounds 
from the gold tipt arrows, fill the listening 
Spaniards v^ith the flaming ardours of las- 
civious desire ; and, regardless of the advice of 
their prudent leader, they wander in a sweet 
intoxication, through the orange groves, and 
myrtle shades of the island f. At length Co- 
interest. See particularly the account of one of the harbours of 
Cuba, quoted by Dr. Robertson, Hist, of America, vol. i. 
note 14. 

* This canzone is a decided imitation of the song of the 
nymph in the Ger. Lib. cant, xv. beginning, 

Questo e il porto del mondo, &c. 

Mad. du Boccage, on a similar occasion, has the same obligation 
to Tasso. See the song of the Sibyl in La Colomb. ch. v. 

t Tassoni, with great propriety, represents Columbus as insen- 
sible to the charms and gold tipt arrows of the enchanted 
nymphs : but Mad. du Boccage, departing from his true cha- 
racter, gives him une belle sauvage for a mistress. ITie loves of 
2ama and Columbus constitute the principal part of the action of 
La Colomblade, and may, perhaps, be considered as its chief blemish. 


lumbus determines to depart. He calls his 
infatuated companions around him, and urges 
them, in a spirited address, to reimbark. But 
they are deaf to his entreaties. He returns, 
sorrowful and alone, to his ships. And fear- 
ing lest his sailors too should be tempted to 
forsake him, he orders the anchors to be raised, 
and the sails unfurled. Then standing upon 
the poop, he cries, with a loud voice, to the 
Spaniards whom he had left ashore, " Ye 
" have abandoned me, I now abandon you." 
But despairing of being able to carry his plans 
into execution with so few followers, he lin- 
gers about the island in the hope that his 
deluded companions might repent. At length 
he resolves to return to shore, and is just about 
to direct his course to the port whence he had 
departed, when a dreadful storm arises, and 
drives his fleet in another direction. Sud- 
denly the winds cease, and the vessels are 
becalmed. Again Columbus implores the aid 
of Heaven. " Grant me, O God!" says he, 
" a favourable wind to bear me to my deluded 
" companions, and turn their hearts into the 
" right way, I beseech thee!" His prayer is 
heard. A celestial messenger is dispatched to 
the dark caverns, where the infernal spirits 


had enchained the winds *". He releases them. 
Again the sails are spread, and on the fourth 
day the fleet reaches the island where it had 
been moored. During its absence a total 
change had taken place in the aspect of this 
delicious spot: instead of verdant meads, and 
smiling hills, its surface presents black sands 
and sterile rocks to the eyes of the astonished 
navigators. At the sight of the fleet, the Spa- 
niards, who had remained upon the island, 
descend rapidly from the hills, and rush 
forward to the shore. Blasco, advancing 
with downcast eyes, thus addresses Co- 
lumbus : 

" After your departure we passed the even- 
ing with the nymphs of this island, in feasting, 
in dancing, and in amorous dalliance. Na 
anxious thought intruded. Our felicity seemed 
perfect. We thought, for a while, that we 
had been transported to Paradise. But when 

* The infernal spirits are here employed as ministers of " the 
" piince of the power of the air," (Eph. ii. 12.) ; the character in 
which it would seem to have been Tassoni's intention to repre- 
sent Satan in this poem. He appears, in the same character^ 
in the Par. Reg. of Milton, book I I. 44. See Mr. Dunster's 
valuable edition of this poem. Lond. 1799. p. 8. note on 
U 44. 


the sun, immersing himself in the ocean, ex- 
tinguished his rays, 

Ma poi che il sol ne 1' ocean s' immerse, 
E fu la luce sua del tutto estinta. 

we were covered with a thick dark cloud, 
through which we could dimly discern some 
hideous spectres. No, never did Orestes hehold 
such frightful forms ! A loud noise of trumpets 
and drums struck upon our ears — thunder 
rolled — lightning flashed — the roaring of the 
sea, dashing against the distant shore, was 
distinctly heard — and wild and ferocious beasts, 
frightened and bewildered, were seen running 
in various directions. Suddenly our nymphs 
disappeared, and in their stead several gigantic 
and monstrous forms, dark and terrible in 
aspect, wxre presented to our aching sight. 
Nor were these vain shadows that only served 
to cheat our senses : we felt their blows on 
every side, while the vallies far and near 
resounded with mournful cries and frightful 
liowlings*. Thus were we variously tormented 

* Here we may perceive au evident imitation of a passage in 
the Ger. Lib. cant. xvi. st. 67. where the poet describes Armida 
in the awful act of assembling her attendant spirits : 

Quanto gira il palagio, udresti irati 

Sibili, e urli, e fremiti, e latrati. 


until the approach of morning. Then the 
monsters that had persecuted and affrighted 
us, disappeared. The nymphs that had in- 
fatuated us, returned no more. The fruits, the 
flowers, the embowering shades, and smihng 
meads, that had enchanted us, all vanished; 
and the whole island seemed a wild and sterile 
waste, covered with dry sand and barren 
rocks. Three days have we continued in this 
frightful desert without repose, without nou- 
rishment, without any resource, even without 
hope. So that had you delayed a little longer 
to come to our relief, we must have perished." 

And when Blasco, towards the conclusion of his narration, says, 

d' urti fieri, e di percosse strane 

Sentimmo i colpi da diversi lati, 
E le piagge vicine, e le lontane 
Muggiar d' urli feroci, e di latrati. 
Cosi senza aver mai riposo un ora 
Fummo agitali in fin ch' usci 1* Aurora — 

we are remhided of the following beautiful lines in Par. Reg, 
book iv. I 422—427. 

Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round 

Environ'd thee ; some howl'd, some yell'd, some shriek'd. 

Some bent at thee their fiery dart 

Thus pass'd the night so foul, till morning fair 
Came forth, &c. 


Blasco ceases. The truth of his recital is 
testified by the pale and haggard counte- 
nances of his companions. Columbus pities 
and consoles them with an affection truly 
paternal. He listens patiently to the nar- 
ratives of their follies and misfortunes, orders 
them refreshment, and receives them on board 
his ship. Directing their course to a neigh- 
bouring island, they reach the shore, which 
they find inhabited by a savage race, dwelhng 
in rude habitations. Seeking water, they look 
in vain for rivers, or living streams. But 
their attention is soon arrested, and their won- 
der excited, by the appearance of a large tree, 
round the top of which the exhalations which 
rise from the surface of the island collect, 
and thence distil from the leaves in copious 
showers^. Here they fill their vessels, and 
then return to the ships. 

After a short invocation to his muse to 
assist him in describing the perils of his hero, 

• Trees, such as Tassoni describes, are found in the Canary- 
Islands. Glas, in his History of those islands, says, p. ^75, 
speaking of the island of Hierro : " The cattle are watered at 
*• those fountains, and at a place where water distils from the 
" leaves of a tree." And he adds : " Trees yielding water are 
** not peculiar to the island of Hierro ; for travellers inform us 
" of one of the same kind in the island of St. Thomas, in the 
" bight, or gulf of Guinea," 


the wonders of the deep which he explored, 
and the new world which he discovered, the 
poet concludes this canto. Of the second 
canto only one stanza is preserved. Nor does 
Muratori seem to think that Tassoni pro- 
ceeded further. Despairing, perhaps, of being 
able to reach the excellence of Tasso, in the 
higher species of epic poetry, his pride, or his 
prudence, determined him to desist from the 
further prosecution of his bold undertaking, and 
to rest his literary fame upon the sure and solid 
basis of his acknowledged claim to the invention 
of a new kind of epopee. This determination 
was wisely formed. The machines of the lofty 
epic were too ponderous for his strength. The 
bent of his genius led to ludicrous ^, or satiric 
composition. His muse was playful. Her 
hand sported amongst the chords of his lyre : 
it rarely passed over them with a solemn 
sweep. Sublimity was beyond the reach of 
Tassoni. Nor did he excel in pastoral descrip- 
tion. In the fragment under review, " he is," 
to borrow the language of Dryden, " too 
" flatulent sometimes, and sometimes too dry ; 
" many times unequal, and always forced ; 

* " Alessandro Tassoni, inclinato naturalmente al ridicolo." 
Fontanini, Bib, ddla Elo^, It. torn, i, p, 68. Ven» 1753, 


*^ and, besides, is full of conceits*." He was, 
however, partial to this early effusion of his 
epic muse, and was therefore induced to send 
it as a model to a friend, who was engaged in 
the composition of a poem upon the same 
subject. He should, perhaps, have sent it 
as a warning. The poem, however, was ac- 
companied wdth a letter, containing some 
sound criticism and some excellent advice. 
To omit this letter would be to do injustice to 
the writer. 



" You have sent me two 
" cantos of your poem, which are neither the 
" first, nor are they consecutive : one contains 
" the description of a battle, the other of a 
" love adventure. It is impossible I should 
" form a correct judgment of the whole poem, 
" having never seen either the beginning, the 
" middle, or the end. But since you exhibit 
" to me an arm and a leg, I shall speak of 
" this arm and leg such as they appear to me, 
" and, from an examination of the limbs, I 

* Ded. to the Satires of Juvenal. 


** may, perhaps, be able to conceive some idea 
" of the whole body; like the Egyptian 
" sages, who, on seeing only the slipper of 
" Rhodope, formed an opinion of the beauty 
" of her person . 

" I shall, in the first place, observe, that 
" the style appears to me sufficiently good 
" and flowing ; yet it may, 1 think, be im- 
^^ proved by practice. There are some pas- 
'* sages, perhaps, too elaborately finished ; but 
" in the revision you will be able to give them 
" more ease, from the facihty w4iich you will 
" gradually acquire in composition. The 
" similes are not abundant ; and of these, 
" some would admit of a bolder, or nobler 
" extension. Your transitions appear some- 
" times to be effected with too much seeming 
*^ difficulty. And you occasionally use words 
" which are not pure Tuscan. These I have 
" noted in the margin. But, what is of greater 
" importance to remark, you dwell more, ac- 
" cording to the present fashion, upon puerile 
" thoughts, or conceits, than upon essential 
" matters. And you follow, as far as I am 
" able to judge, the erroneous path pursued 
" by those who have already treated the 
" noble subject of the discovery of the New 
^* World. These are not few in number : for. 


" besides the Cavaliere Stigliani, who has 

^' already published twenty cantos of his 

'* ' Mondo Nuovo/ and Villifranchi *, who had 

*' nearly put the last hand to his poem when 

" he died, I know three other poets who have 

" treated this subject in heroic verse. All, 

*' however, have erred in taking for their 

" models the ' ^neid' of Virgil and the ' Ge- 

" rusalemme' of Tasso, forgetting the * Odys- 

" sey' of Homer, which, if I do not deceive 

" myself, ought to serve as a/aro, or direct- 

" ing light, to any poet who may undertake 

" to reduce to the epic form the eventful 

" history of the voyage of Columbus to the 

" Western World. 

* From the long list of poems on the subject of the discovery of 
the Western World, given by Quadrio, I shall extract the titles 
of the two poems alluded to by Tassoni : 

Copia delprimo, e secondo canto del Colombo. Poema Eroico, di 
Giovanni Villifranchi. Firenze, 1602. 4to. 

II Mondo Nuovo del Cavalier Fra Tommaso Stigliani. In 34 
Canti, Roma, 1628. 4fo. On this poem Quadrio observes: 
" Da savi tenuto, com' e nel vero, incomparabilmente miglior 
" dell'Adone." 

Since the publication of Quadrio's Storia d' ogni Poesia, the 
following poem appeared in Venice : L' Ammiraglio dell' Indie. 
Poema di Omildo Emeresio. Ven. 1759. The friend, to whom I 
am indebted for this information, says: " L' opera mi sembra 
** ben inferiore all* argoraento, e talvolta indegnissima del grande 
** Eroe, ch' egli avrebbe meglio dovuto celebrare." 


'' It is known at present, from the report 
*' of common fame, as well as from some pub- 
" lications of authenticity and notoriety, that 
*^ the inhabitants of the West Indies, on the 
" arrival of Columbus, had no iron, nor any 
" knowledge of that metal; that they were 
" entirely naked, and were naturally pusil- 
^' lanimous, with the exception of the can- 
" nibals, who, though they were naked also, 
'^ had more courage, and fought with bows 
" and poisoned arrows made of cane*. 

" Why then paint an heroic warrior where 
" the people know not how to make war? 
" Or where, if he should wage war, it must 
" be against men without arms, without cloth- 
*^ ing, and without courage ? Is not this, dear 
" sir, to confound the ' Iliad' with the ' Ba- 
^' trachomuomachia,' and to introduce an 
" Achilles becoming glorious by the slaughter 
'' of frogs ? But, you will say, I feign these 
" Indians armed and brave. This is even 
^* worse; for every one knows that they had 

* It does not fall within my plan to expatiate upon the deadly 
weapons, or the bows and arrows of the Indians in general, 
alluded to in the text ; but I cannot resist the temptation of 
referring the reader to a work from which he may obtain full 
and highly satisfactory information on this subject. See Pinckard^ 
'Notes on the West Indies, vol, ii, p. 405 — i09. 


" neither courage nor arms. Thus you depart 
<^ even from the semblance of truth ; and, in 
so doing, you shock the judgment, which is 
incapable of enduring such manifest false- 
" hoods ; for, (as Aristotle well knew, al- 
though he does not say so,) the imagination 
*' cannot figure to itself things different from 
what we actually know them to be. Be- 
sides, it is generally acknowledged that 
Columbus was rather a prudent man than a 
" great warrior. 

" It being then certain that all the other 
*' inhabitants of these parts were naked and 
*' cowardly, Columbus could only acquire 
" honour by warring with the cannibals ; 
" who, although naked also, were fierce and 
*' brave, and fought with large bows, and 
" poisoned arrows pointed with stone*. It is 

* Soon after Columbus, in his first voyage, had landed in 
Hispaniola, (now St. Domingo,) he was visited by Guacanahari, 
a powerful cazique of tlie island, who informed him, " that the 
** country was much infested by the incursions of certain people, 
** whom he called Carribeans, who inhabited several islands to 
*' the south-east. These he described as a fierce and warlike 
** race of men, who delighted in blood, and devoured the flesh of 
** the prisoners who were so unhappy as to fall into their hands." 
The historian adds, that " the Spaniards, as often as they landed, 
" met with such a reception as convinced them of their martial 
*• and daring spirit." Robertson, Hist, of America, vol, i. book iU 
These were the cannibals to whom Tassoni alludes. 


" also necessary to remind you, that you 
*' should not, as others have done, represent 
" Columbus as leading an army ; for he had, 
" as is well known, but three ships, and an 
" handful of men, whereas the writers, to 
" whom I allude, make him take the field 
" with a well appointed army of fiive or six 
" thousand infantry and cavalry, against a 
" naked and unarmed multitude ; which, if 
" it amounted to an hundred thousand men, 
" there would be no glory in conquering; 
" since it is universally admitted, that a small 
" army, highly disciplined and well appointed, 
" can easily discomfit a large force without 
" discipline and arms*. For this reason, 
*^ when Ariosto represents his Orlando com- 
" bating with a rude host, he always intro- 
" duces him alone. If, therefore, Columbus 
" cannot, with propriety, appear alone in the 
" field of battle, he should only be attended 
" by a few followers, in order that it may 
" seem more glorious and heroic in him and 
" his followers to gain the victory. 

" As to love adventures, every one also 
" knows, that the women whom Columbus 

* The same observation is made by Montaigne, Ess. book iii, 
ch. vi. 


" found were brown* and naked; it is ihere- 
^^ fore ridiculous to assign to them charms 
" which belong to females of a different com- 
" plexion, and of polished manners. To feign 
" then a race of people in India different from 
" that which Columbus found, is not onl}^ 
" doing violence to historic truth, but de- 
" priving him of the glory unquestionably 
" due to his great enterprise, — the glory of 
" being the first to seek and to discover a 
" new world f. 

" In a word, as to the glorious and heroic 
*' enterprise of Columbus, I would confine 

* The epithet hriine, which Tassoni employs, does not fully 
describe the complexion of the Indians : " It is," says Dr. Ro- 
bertson, " of a reddish brown, nearly resembling the colour of 
" copper." Vol. i. hook iv. The Zaraa of Mad. du Boccage, 
although brown and naked, is graced with charms that captivate 

Au jour naissant, Zama joint la troupe sauvage ; 

Ses appas sont sans voile ; et dans sa nudite, 

Comme Diane, arraee, elle en a la beaute. 

Le feu de ses regards ranime la verdure ; &c. 

La Colomhiade, ch. iv. 

t M. Tenhove does not deny this glory to Columbus ; but he 
thinks that Americo Vespucio had a better claim to the honour 
of giving a name to the Continent of America, as his discoveries 
were more extensive. Mem. of the House of Medici, vol. ii. 
p. 407. See also Life of Loremo de Medici, vol. ii. p; 42. 
Lond. 1796. 


*' myself (as Homer has done, in singing the 

*' wanderings of Ulysses,) to accidents at sea, 

" to the obstacles raised by the machinations 

*' of demons, to the encountering of mon- 

" sters, to the enchantments of magicians, to 

" the sudden and unexpected attacks of 

^' savages*, and to the discords and mutinies 

" of the sailors t, circumstances which were, 

" in part, true X- And, in regard to love ad- 

" ventures, I would proceed with more cau- 

" tion and consistency ; I would rather feign 

'^ the Indians enamoured of our navigators, 

" than our navigators enamoured of them ; 

" which we learn was the case from the sad 

* Robertson, Hist, of America, book iv. 

t Ibid, book ii. 

J Here Tassoni evinces his usual good sense. By the ex- 
pression of " in parte cose vere," he insinuates his doubts of the 
truth of the marvellous relations of the early travellers and navi- 
gators. And with good reason. For honest Montaigne, his 
contemporary, sajs, we are told, " there are countries where 
" men are bom without heads, having their mouth and eyes in 
** their breast ; where they are all hermaphrodites ; where they 
" go on all four; where they have but one eye in the fore- 
" head," &c. &c. Ess. vol. ii. p. 317. Cotton's trans. Lond. 1700. 
Pliny is the writer to whom Montaigne particularly alludes ; but 
it is probable he had, at the same time, in his recollection Man- 
deville; of whose Travels a third edition had appeared in 1542. 
For a satisfactory account of Mandeville, and a humorous paper 
upon the subject of his Travels, see Nicholl's edition of the 
Tatler, Lond. 1786, vol. vi. p. 306—317. 


" story of Anacoana *. And as to the asser- 
'^ tioii of some writers concerning the trans- 
" portation of European women in the vessels 
" of Columbus, I consider it as a ridicu- 
*^ lous fiction : for it is well known that he 
" had much difficulty in finding even men 
" who would accompany him in his first 
" voyage. 

" But having once meditated a poem upon 
" this subject, and written, in haste, the first 
" canto, containing the adventures of Colum- 
" bus from the Straits of Gibraltar to the 
" Canaries, or, as they are called, the For- 
" tunate Islands, I have determined to send 
" you my imperfect essay, in order that you 
" may see whether or not it would be in any 
" way useful to you in your present under- 
'' taking." 

" I remain, &c. 


* Robertson, booh iv. Mad. du Boccage has made the story 
of Anacoana the ground-work of an interesting episode, which 
she has embellished with graces borrowed from the 4th book of 
the JEneid of Virgil. See La Colombiade, ch. vi, 


Soon after that Tassoni (to borrow the 
figurative language of poetry,) had 

Mis PItalie en feu pour la perte d'un seau*, 

he turned his attention to a work which was 
to involve him in new persecutions, but which 
will long remain a monument of the extent of 
his researches, and of the depth of his erudi- 
tion. I allude to his " Pensieri Diversif." 
This arduous undertaking was commenced 
about 1608. With a view, perhaps, to try his 
strength, or to discover the opinion of the 
public, he prepared for the press, and pub- 
lished in that year, one hundred Quisiti, or 
Questions, which, as we have already observed, 
appeared at Modena, under the title of " Parte 

* Boileau, Lutrin, ch. iv. This line is an imitation of the 
opening of La Secchia Rapita, which is thus translated by Ozell : 

How fierce a flame did Italy o'errun, 
From a vile bucket's wooden cause begun. 

t Tassoni acknowledges no archetype. Yet I am inclined to 
think that the plan of the Pensieri was borrowed, at least in part, 
from the Tresor of Ser, Brunetto, who has been immortalized by 
Dante, Inf. cant. xv. For an account of the Tresor, see Hist. 
de I' Acad, des hiscrip. torn. vii. p. 296. Warton, Hist, of Eng. 
Poet. vol. ii. p. 116; vol. iii. p. 237. Tenhove, Mem. of the House 
of Medici, translated by Sir Rich. Clayton, ch. ii. ; and Notes to 
cant. XV. of Carey's Dante. Pliny was Brunette's model, or 
rather his guide. 


" de* Quisiti del Sig. AJessandro Tassoni." 
Animated by the approbation of his friends, 
and flattered by the reception which this spe- 
cimen experienced from his countrymen in 
general, he proceeded, with ardour, in his 
undertaking; and, in I6l2, he published in 
Modena an enlarged edition of his work, 
under the title of " Varieta di Pensieri di 
*^ Alessandro Tassoni, divisa in ix. Parti, 
^* nelle quali ; per via di Quisiti, con nuovi 
'' fondamenti, e ragioni si trattano le piii 
*• curiose materie Naturali, Morali, Civil i, 
" Poetiche, Istoriche, e d' altre facolta che 
" soglion venire in discorso fra Cavalieri, e 
" Professori di Lettere." In the specimen he 
confined himself chiefly to subjects of natural 
philosophy and astronomy ; but the work 
which he now offered on this enlarged plan 
to the public, he enriched with all the opu- 
lence of his mind, the fruit of many years' 
study and observation. His plan now em- 
braced theology, cosmography, geography, 
mechanics, morality, politics, history, and 
poetry. In short, the " Pensieri" may be 
considered as a compendium of all the learn- 
ing of the age : the author has scarcely left 
any subject of science, or of polite literature, 
untouched ; and on all he displays great 


acuteness of remark, much ingenuity, and 
extensive erudition. If some of his opinions 
should, at this day, seem singular, some ab- 
surd, and some erroneous, let it be remem- 
bered, that almost two centuries have elapsed 
since his work appeared. To him all " the 
" wit of Greece and Rome was known," and 
all the knowledge which the academies and 
universities of his time and country had dis- 
seminated. But Europe had not long emerged 
from the intellectual gloom of the middle 
ages when Tassoni flourished; — still a skirt of 
the dark cloud was visible. During the 
splendid age of Leo X. the human intellect 
had, it is true, been highly cultivated*; but 
still many discoveries and improvements in 
the sciences, and in the useful and in the ele- 
gant arts, were reserved for a much later period. 
From the " Pensieri" we may form an idea 
of the state of the arts, of the sciences, and of 
mental cultivation in the seventeenth century ; 
but we must not expect that the author 
should have anticipated the discoveries which 
reflect so much honour upon our own age. It 
is true, that some of the most remarkable 

* Vid. The Life and Pontif. of Leo X. By William, Roscoe, 
passim ; a work in every point of view worthy the ** golden days" 
of Leo. 


inventions and discoveries of his contem- 
poraries are unnoticed by Tassoni. He does 
not, for instance, mention the various dis- 
coveries in optics, or the improvements in 
perspective, or in the fallacious science of 
physiognomy, by the learned, ingenious and 
eccentric Giambattista Porta; nor the inven- 
tion, or rather perfection of the opera, or 
melo-drama, by Rinuccini*. He mentions, it 
is true, the telescope f : but he neither notices 
the invention of the microscope, nor of the 

* Append. No. I. 

t It is asserted by some writers, and, in particular, by Volffius, 
(^Elem. Diop. SchoL 318), that Giambattista Porta may dispute 
with GaUleo the honour of the invention of the telescope. But 
Tiraboschi, and his French translator, M. Landi, seem to think 
that the passage in Mag. Natur. lib, xvii. ch. x., upon which this 
opinion is founded, relates to lunettes, or spectacles ; the happy 
invention of A. Spina, a monk of Pisa, in the 13th century. It 
has been thought, too, that Roger Bacon had some right to share 
the honour claimed for G. B. Porta ; but Smith, in his Optics, 
disputes this right, which more properly belongs to Mebius. 
Vid. Hist, de la Litt. de Vital, torn. v. p. 109. Burton notices 
the improvements in optics by Battista Porta and Galileo. Anat. 
of Melanch, p. 284. Lond. 1660. fol. And Pope, allusively, 
ascribes the invention of the telescope to the latter in the descrip- 
tion of the ascent of Belinda's lock to the skies : 

This Partridge soon shall view in cloudless skies ; 
When next he looks through Galileo's eyes. 

Rape of the Loch, cant, v^ 


pendulum by Galileo; nor does he particu- 
larly remark the discovery, by that great 
astronomer, of the ring of Saturn, of the satel^ 
lites of Jupiter, or of the mountains, vallies, 
and rivers, first descried by him in the 
^' spotty globe " of the moon *. But some of 
these discoveries, inventions, and scientific 
improvements, were subsequent to the appear- 
ance of the Pertsieri ; and of such as were 
anterior to the publication of that work, the 
fame had not expanded. So that we need not 
wonder at the silence of Tassoni in regard to 

* Milton, either from ocular demonstration, or verbal informa- 
tion, during his visit to Galileo, or from the authority of his 
Dialoghi, thus describes the lunar discoveries of that great astro- 
nomer ; whom, in allusion to his mechanical inventions, he calls 
an •' artist." Describing the shield of Satan, he compares it to 

the moon, whose orb 

Through optick glass the Tuscan artist views 
At evening from the top of Fesole, 
Or in Valdamo, to descry new lands, 
Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe. 

Par. Lost, look i. I 187—191, 

Before I close this note, it is but justice to Tassoni to remark, 
that although he does not enumerate the several discoveries in 
the moon made by Galileo, he mentions the inequalities in its 
surface, which had been lately observed. And he adds, that it 
had been recently discovered : " Che '1 sole si tinge di maccbie 
'• nere." Pens, lib. x. cap. 24. 


them. From these general remarks we shall 
return to the work to which they owe their 

The singular opinions and ingenious para- 
doxes with which this work abounds, soon 
attracted the notice of the public. The at- 
tempt to depreciate the genius of Homer, and 
the doctrines of Aristotle, roused the critics 
to arms. Many champions now stepped forth 
to defend the poet ^nd the philosopher, but 
Tassoni wisely declined to enter the lists. To 
his friend Camillo Baldi^ of Bologna, (whom, 

* The censure of Moreri refers rather to the choice of his 
subjects than to his manner of treating them. It would seem, 
however, that Baldi was better calculated for a court, or for a 
wide intercourse with the world, than for a professor's chair. In 
La Secchia Rapita it is said, 

ch' era astuto come veglio, 

E sapea secondar 1' onda corrente. Cant. ii. 

Baldi had study^d men, as well as books. 
And saw the inward soul thro' outward looks ; 
Knew how to temporize, dress any theme, 
Veer with each wind, and swim with ev'ry stream. 

His works are neither numerous, nor, according to Moreri, 
valuable. I can only enumerate two of his publications. Ton- 
tanini (torn. ii. p. 367) has registered Delle Mentite, discorso di 
Camillo Baldi. And in the library of St. Patrick's, Dublin, 
I found a work ascribed to him, entitled, In Physiognomica 
Aristotelis Commentarii. Bon. 16^1. Baldi died in 1635. 


says Moreri, " ofi peut Men meftre dans le cata^ 
" logue de ceux qui ont ecrit sur des sujets de 
" neant") he writes, indeed, a playful letter, in 
reply to one in which the professor had resented 
his treatment of Aristotle. ^' It is certainly 
" a pleasant thing," says he, " to see you, 
" Aristotelians, interpreting your prophet ac- 
" cording to your fancy : when he advances a 
" ridiculous position, you immediately dis- 
*' pute his meaning, however clear and plain 
" it may be^ and give such a turn to his 
" words as may seem best to you, or more 
" creditable to him. I think you will at 
" length make him a Christian in spite of 
" himself. Nor do I despair of your framing 
" a feigned detail of his life and miracles^ 
" and presenting it, in the form of a me- 
" morial, to the Congregrazione dei Riti, ac- 
" companied with a requisition to admit him 
" to the honour of canonization^. If Plato 
" and Socrates were to return to life, and 
" should see so many great philosophers, 
" who flourished before and after Aristotle, 

* It is a certain fact, that Sepulveda, a learned Spaniard of the 
16th century, publicly sustained, and published his opinion, that 
the soul of Aristotle was beatified in heaven. This circumstance 
was, probably, not only known to Tassoni, but in his mind when 
he wrote to Baldi. 


" esteemed as ignoramuses by the supercilious 
" pedants of our time, what would they say ? 
" But you have good reason for what you do : 
" for, if you did not employ this superstitious 
" reverence for the Stagyrite to darken the 
" intellects of your pupils, they would begin 
" to philosophize with the ancient freedom, 
" and you would be in danger of losing the 
" salaries which the public allows you. This 
" accounts for your employing sophistry in 
'* defending the doctrine and wild chimeras 
" of Aristotle. But I beg you will not be 
" scandalized, or lose your temper, because I do 
" not hold him as irrefragable. I consider his 
" philosophy as beautiful and ingenious*. But 
" I am willing to hazard some novel opinions : 
" that is my scope. And I beg of my friends 
" that they will not reproach me with any 
" thing I may have said against Aristotle, 
" but reprove me for any impertinencies I may 
" have advanced. Ye who are stipendiaries of 
" Aristotle must defend his doctrines, be they 

* To the literary character of this great philosopher, I>r, Beattie 
does ample justice in his admirable Ess. on Truth, part iii. ch. i. 
and ii. Lord Kaimes seems to insinuate that he was a literary 
coxcomb. Shetcli, book iii. ah 1. App. But I believe it will not 
be denied that Dr. Harrison, in Fielding's Amelia, is not perfectly 
wrong, when he says, he does not take Aristotle to be so great a 
blockhgad as some do who have never ?ead him. 


'^^ right or wrong. But it is not by him I live," 
Had Tassoni, however, been a subject of 
France, his critical temerity might have proved 
a serious affair to him ; for, a few years after the 
publication of the first complete edition of his 
Pensieri the parliament of Paris prohibited 
(1624), under pain of death, the teaching any 
thing contrary to the doctrine of Aristotle^". 
This predilection, or rather superstitious vene- 
ration, for the philosophy of Aristotle, was, it 
may be presumed, in many instances, sin- 
ceref . Dr. Beattie, however, seems inclined to 
think less charitably of it, and refers it to deep 
policy. " The logic of Aristotle," says he, 
" was the groundwork of the school logic, 
" of which the court of Rome well knew the 
'* importance in supporting their authority: 
" they knew it could be employed more suc- 
" cessfuUy in disguising error than in vindicat- 

* Voltaire, Ess. sur les Moeurs, <^c. torn. x. p. 222. 4to. ed. 
This harsh and illiberal decree was probably repealed soon after ; 
for we find Malebranche inveighing against Aristotle with the 
most virulent bitterness, and aifecting, on all occasions, to treat 
him with supreme contempt. Vid. Rech, de la Verite, lib. vi. ch, v-. 

t When Montaigne was at Pisa (1581), he was carried pri- 
vately to see " a very honest man ; but so great an Aristotelian, 
" that his most usual thesis was, * That the touchstone and square 
" of all solid imagination, and of the truth, was an absolute confor- 
" raity to Aristotle's doctrine ; and that all besides was nothing but 


ing truth : and PufFendorf scruples not to 
insinuate, that they patronised it for this rea- 
son*." If the assertion of Dr. Beattie, and 
the insinuation of Puff€ndorf,be well founded, 
we must cease to wonder that the schoolmen 
should warmly resent Tassoni's disrespectful 
treatment of the doctrines of their favourite 
philosopher, and " great support." 

On Homer he was less severe. He had, as 
M. de Cahors observes^, too much genius him- 
self not to feel that of the Greek poet; and 
from La Secchia Rapita it clearly appears 
that he had read the writings of Homer with 

** inanity and chimsera ; for that he had seen all, and said all.' A 
*' position that, for having been a little too injuriously and mali- 
*' ciously interpreted, brought him first into, and afterwards long 
** kept him in, great trouble in the Inquisition at Rome." Ess. 
booh i. ch. XXV. Cotton's trans. Lond, 1685. This anecdote, be, 
sides affording an instance of the sincerity of an Aristotelian, 
serves to show that the Inquisition in Italy entertained a less 
favourable opinion of the philosophy of Aristotle than the Par- 
liament of Paris. 

* Ess. on Truth, part iii. ch. ii. See also .Some Hints concern- 
ing the State of Science at the Revival of Letters. By the Earl of 
Charlemont. Trans, of the Roy. Irish Academy, vol. vi. Collin- 
soiif Life of Thuanus, Loud, 1807, p. 13. Some curious and in- 
teresting particulars of the warm controversy to which the philoso- 
phy of Aristotle gave birth at the revival of letters, may be found 
in Mem. of the House of Medici, translated from the French of 
M. Tenhove, by Sir R. Clayton, vol, i. ch, ii. 

t J^e Seau enleve, Pref. p, i. 


profit. He, however, declared to his friend 
G. V. Rossi*, that he had selected above five 
hundred passages from ** the tale of Troy di- 
'^ vine," which he intended to prove puerile and 
ridiculous, — i?ietti e ridicoli. This was probably 
an empty threat thrown out in the spirit of 
bravado ; it certainly was never carried into 
execution. But he had said enough to ex- 
cite the displeasure of the admirers of Homer, 
and they poured their vengeance upon his 
headf. " It is dangerous," says Cowper, 

* Giovanni Vittorio Rossi, better known by bis assumed name 
of Janus Nicius Erythreus, was bora in Rome, 1577. After 
some years spent in the study of law, he grew weary of " musty 
" reports," and devoted himself to the cultivation of elegant litera- 
ture. Recommended by his learning and his talents to the 
notice of some Roman prelates who befriended letters, he expe- 
rienced their protection and munificence, and served some of 
them with satisfaction to his employers and credit to himself. 
At length he retired to solitary seclusion in a delicious rural re- 
treat, where he died (1647) in the seventieth year of his age. 
His Pinacotheca, to which I have had frequent occasion to refer 
in the course of these memoirs, is the work by which he is best 
known. It is a collection of portraits, or characters of his con- 
temporaries, and abounds in interesting information, and many 
curious anecdotes which were happily rescued from oblivion by • 
the patient industry of the author. Occasional instances of neg- 
ligence occur in his dates, and of vanity in his details ; and his 
style is thought to be too diffuse. The Pinacotheca, however, is 
a work to which the literary history of Italy has many obligations. 

t The abatp Ajiton Maria Salvini, an enthusiastic admirer o|" 


" to find any fault at all, with what the world 
" is determined to esteem faultless*." 

But it was not only amongst the admirers of 
Homer and Aristotle that Tassoni had raised 
enemies ; he had also to encounter the wrath of 
the divines of his day, for his presumption in 
combating some of the theological opinions long 
established, and still pertinaciously maintained 
in the schools. Even the mild and liberal 
Muratorif seems to think that Tassoni should 

Homer, loses all patience when he speaks of the critical labours 
of Tassoni, and calls, him " lo Zoilo de' suoi tempi." Lez. x. 
Homer has found another zealous advocate in Angiolo Maria 
Ricci, author of Dissertaz. Omerichi. 

* This observation is made in a letter, in which CoAvper ac- 
knowledges, that during the progress of his translation he dis- 
covered in Homer " inadvertencies not a few." Life, vol. iii. p. 2, 
I quote this acknowledgment of a critic who might be suspected 
of partiality, and in justification of what has been deemed critical 
temerity in Tassoni. 

t Gibbon only does justice to Muratori, when he says, " his nu- 
" merous writings on the subjects of history, antiquities, religion, 
" morals, and criticisms, are impressed with sense and knowledge, 
" with moderation and candour : he moved in the narrow circle of 
** an Italian priest ; but a desire of freedom, a ray of philosophic 
** light, sometimes breaks through his own prejudices, and those of 
" his readers." I transcribe with pleasure tins elegant eulogium 
on a writer whose " name will be for ever connected with the 
" literature of his country ; above sixty years of whose peaceful 
** life were consumed in the exercise of study and devotion," — and 
one to whom these pages are deeply indebted. — A full and satis- 
factory Vita del Muratori, by his nephew, appeared at Nap. 1773, 


not have meddled with theology, as it was a 
subject with which, from the nature of his 
studies and pursuits, he could not be supposed 
to be deeply conversant. But it is probable 
that a little " gospel light" had dawned upon 
his mind, and rendered him too acute an ex- 
aminer of the prevailing religious tenets, and, 
perhaps, a secret foe to superstition, the jea- 
lous guardian,, at that period, of the Romish 
church. He might, however, like his friend 
Galileo, have been 

condamne pour avoir eu raison*. 

Having thus noticed some of the most pro- 
minent features of the work under considera- 
tion, I shall proceed to the seventh book, 
which demands a more particular examination. 
The question upon which this book turns, is, 
" Are Letters and the Sciences necessary in 
" a republic ? — Se le Lettere, e le Dottrine siano 
" necessarie nelle Republiche" — Aware of the- 

* La Pucelle, ch. iii. In a note on the passage from which I. 
borrow the quotation in the text, Voltaire falls into the vulgar > 
error in regard to the imprisonment of GaUleo : he saj^s he was^ 
" mis en prison" by the Inquisition. This, however, was not 
the case. See Some Account of Milton (p. xxiv.) by the Revd. 
H. J. Todd, prefixed to his valuable edition of the Works of 
John Milton, Land. 1801. See alsoApp. 


commotion which the discussion of this subject 
was likely to occasion in the literary world, 
the author endeavours to conciliate his readers 
by declaring that he does not mean to pro- 
voke the critics to battle, but to invite them 
to a tilt or tournament*. In fact, in discus- 
sing this subject, he is often playful, and some- 
times witty : occasionally he advances opi- 
nions which are equally paradoxical and inge- 
nioust; and when a prejudice, consecrated by 
time, comes in his way, he seems to delight 
in combating it. He does not, however, pur- 
sue the crooked path of sophistry : his course 
is fair, open, and direct. He considers the 
subject in every point of view. He admits 
that much may be said on both sides ; and on 
both sides he says much. He marshals the 
hostile opinions fairly and judiciously; and 
then, like an experienced commander, he con- 
ducts the combat with consummate skill. — 
Princes, he thinks, should rather invite learned 

* " Quello, ch'io son per dire," says he, " e solo per vxvezza di spi- 
** rito ; e per prova d' ingegno lussureggiante, che a guisa di guer- 
** riero voglioso di ciraentarsi, iion trovando battaglia contro i 
" neraici, si volge a gli amici, e gli sfida a giostra." P. 201. 

t " Tassoni,"' says Tiraboschi, " e autor faceto e leggiadro, 
*' che sa volgere in giuoco i piu serii argomenti, e che con una pun- 
** gente ma grazioso critica trattiene piacevolmente i lettori." Stor, 
della Poes^ Ital. Land. 1803, vol. iii. p. 436. 


men to assist in their councils, than aspire to 
literary eminence themselves ; and strengthens 
his argument with the example of James I. of 
England, who consumed the time which was 
due to his subjects in the cultivation of letters, 
and, to borrow the words of Pope, turned the 
council to a grammar school*. Henry VIIL he 
numbers with the literary monsters, — mostri 
literatiy — of his age. — Physicians, he asserts, 
should rather follow the light of nature, and 
attend to the wisdom derived from experience, 
than be guided by the jarring, and often falla- 
cious, opinions of medical writers. — The Ca- 
tholic religion, he admits, requires the sup- 
port of letters to sustain it against the assaults 
of heretics and schismatics ; and he ascribes 
the secession of the followers of Luther to 
the want of able theologians and learned doc- 
tors to rally round the mother church. He 
does not deny that the science of tactics may 
be learned from books ; but he thinks that a 
state may be better protected by employing 
its subjects in invigorating exercises, and 

* Dunciad, hook iv. /, 175 — 180. The passage to which I 
refer, is admirably descriptive of the " pedant reign" of the 
*' gentle James," and happily expresses the sentiments of 


drawing off their attention from all luxurious 
indulgences and enervating pursuits ; adducing 
the example of Sparta in support of his posi- 
tion. As a proof that learning has not always 
an happy influence on the moral conduct^ 
he adduces instances from ancient history of 
the most celebrated philosophers devoting 
their time to the society of accomplished 
courtezans, and draws a lively picture of Dio- 
genes, with a squalid beard, and a ragged man- 
tle, visiting the lovely Laisf. And he asserts, 
perhaps with too much truth, that the lascivi- 
ous descriptions of the poets, by inflaming the 
passions of the female sex, ultimately lead to 

* This was the opinion of Rousseau : " Si la culture des sci- 
*' ences," says he, " est nuisible aux qualitis guerrieres, elle Test 
" encore plus aux qualit^s morales." And Montaigne observes, 
*' Whoever will number us by our actions and deportment, will 
** find many more excellent men amongst the ignorant than the 
** learned : I say, in all sorts of virtue." Ess. booku, ch. xii. In 
fact, the chief object of this chapter (which is entitled An Apology 
for Raimond de Sebonde) seems to be, to prove the tendency of 
letters and the sciences to mislead the senses, bewilder the judg- 
ment, and deprave the moral conduct. Neither Tassoni nor Rous- 
seau notice this Apology ; yet it appeared at least thirty years 
before the publication of the PensierL 

t Montaigne, too, treats the snarling Cynics with great severity. 
For a very satisfactory account of this sect, see Mrs. Carter's 
F^pictetus, book iii. ch, xx'iu 


moral depravation*. In a vindicatory letter 
to a friend who had censured the disquisition 
under review, he says, " food that is naturally 
" good will become putrid and pernicious in a 
" distempered stomach." Hence, by a parity of 
reasoning, he is led to conclude, that the know- 
ledge of letters should be disseminated under 
certain restrictions; or, at least, diffused with 
great caution, and the most scrupulous discri- 
mination f. " No wise government," he adds, 
" would put arms into the hands of its disaffected 
" or evil disposed subjects." But while he thus 
expatiates on the danger attending the culti- 
vation of letters, he takes occasion to pro- 

* See, on this subject, Mureti Var'm Lectiones, lib. viii. cap, 21. 
Grotii Poemata, p, 251 . 

t Pursuing this idea, he observ^es to his friend, " lo non 
" niego, che non sia vero tutto quelle, che dice V. P. che le lettere 
" nelle volonta ben inclinata aggiungono agli uomini perfezione : 
** ma che le lettere facciono la buona intenzione, questo lo niego, 
" e aggiungo di piu, che agli animi mal disposti accrescono ma- 
" lizia." This would seem to have been the opinion of Rousseau 
•when he wrote the following passage in the preface to his 
Heloise : " Jamais fille chaste n'a lu de Romans ; et j'ai misi 
" a celui-ci un titre asses decide pour qu'en I'ouvrant on sut a 
" quoi s'en tenir. Celle qui, malgre ce titre, en osera lire uue 
" seule page, est une fille perdue : mais qu'elle n'impute point sa 
" perte a ce livre; le mal etoit fait d'avance. Puisqu'elle a 
" commence, qu'elle acheve de lire : elle u'a plus lien a 
'* risqu^r." 


nounce a beautiful eulogium on philosophy* 
" Philosophy," says he, " imparadises the 
" soul, transmutes man, raises earth to heaven, 
" and eternises mortal things. When slid 
" speaks, her voice, like the breath of Ze- 
" phirus, tranquillizes the agitations of tern- 
" pestuous souls, pacifies the fury of anger, 
'* changes the livid hue of hatred, cools libi- 
** dinous desires, softens the flinty heart of the 
" miser, tempers unbridled wrath, and, like the 
" song of the Syren, harmonizes the discordant 
^' emotions of the passions." In the following 
chapter, or Quisito, he exhibits a frightful pic- 
ture of a letteratOf or scholar, inflated with va- 
nity, and replete with envy, and compareshim 
to the tarabusso, a bird with a long beak, thick 
plumage, and a terrific voice. He pursues the 
comparison with so much humour, that it is 
with some reluctance I decline following him. 
But it is not my intention, nor is it consistent 
with my plan, to analize this admirable disqui- 
sition: indeed it would be impossible to do it 
justice in the most elaborate analysis, or epi- 
tome. If it be inferior to Rousseau's famous 
discourse in poi^it of eloquence*, it certainly 

* See Discours sur cette Question : " Si le rttablissement des 
Sciences et des Arts a contribue a 6purer les moeurs." Dr. 
Peattie, in his eloquent eulogium on the character of Rousseau, 


possesses advantages which the French essay 
cannot boast. It is enriched with a profu- 
sion of quotations from ancient and modern 
writers, — enUvened with pleasant anecdotes, — 
and the chain of reasoning which runs through- 
out, displays much ingenuity, and great po- 
lemical skill. That this disquisition was un- 
known to Rousseau, we are taught to believe 
from his silence in regard to it; yet almost all 
the arguments adduced by the Genevan philo- 
sopher in support of his position, may be 
found in the seventh book of the Pensieri 
of Tassoni. In this, however, the Italian po- 
lemic difFers from the Genevan philosopher. 
He censures, not the use, but the abuse of 
letters*; whereas Rousseau would banish let- 
ters from the earth, and reduce mankind to a 

admits that his reasonings in this celebrated discourse " are 
" diffuse, inaccurate, and often weak ; but his eloquence over-' 
" powers with force irresistible." Ess. on Truth, part iii. ch. ii. 
It is a curious fact, that in the many polemical publications to 
which this discourse gave birth, the name of Tassoni is not once 
mentioned, (vid. (Euv. de M. Rousseau, a Neuch. 1764. torn, i.), 
although the whole seventh book of the Pensieri is devoted to the 
same subject. 

* In a letter to a friend on this subject, Tassoni says, " che 
" la sua vera intenzione non e di biasimar la natura stessa della. 
" cosa, ma I' abuso." Mvratori, p, 64. 


State of nature, and society to a " swinish 
" multitude*." 

Passing to the following (eighth) book, I 
shall take occasion to observe, that a little at- 
tention to the first Quisito of this book might, 
perhaps, have saved a great waste of ingenious 
criticism upon the celebrated picture of the 
Immolation of Iphigenia by Tiraanthesf. In 
discussing the subject, " Why the Romans 
" covered the head at sacrifice, — PercM i Ro- 
" mani nel sacrificio si coprissero il capo" — the 
author says, " Gon quel' atto misterioso voles- 
*^ sero significare i Romani, die nelle cose di 
" Dio, e della religione non si dee esser cu- 
** rioso." The custom alluded to, which was, 
I believe, of oriental, not of Roman origin J, 

* It would seem from the following prayer, that, however ex- 
traordinary it may appear, Rousseau was in earnest. " Dieu 
" tout-puissant, toi, qui tiens dans tes mains les esprits, delivre- 
" nous des lumieres et des funestes arts des nos peres ; et rends- 
" nous I'ignorance, I'innocence, et la pauvrete, les seuls biens qui 
** puissent faire notre bonheur, et qui soient precieux devant 
« toil" 

t See Mr. Fuseli's learned and ingenious remarks upon the re- 
spective opinions of M. Falconet, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, ou 
this subject. Ltd. i. y. S5 — 37. 

:}: " He covered his face and wept," is the language of Scrip- 
ture, in describing sorrow, or contrition. This also appears to 
have been the practice in Greece, from the Ion and Heraclidts of 


bad, probably, long prevailed in Greece ; so that 
what has been termed a trick of artinTimanthes, 
was, it may be presumed, the observance of a 
national practice originating in religious awe. 
Indeed, to close, cast down, or cover tlie eyes, 
in order to exclude the sight of such objects as 
might distract the attention, are no uncommon 
acts in prayer ; and as prayer is, or ought to be, 
the accompaniment of sacrifice, the practice 
may, perhaps, be traced back to the earliest 
ages. Neither praise nor blame can, there- 
fore, attach to the veil of Timanthes : but, had 
he omitted it, his picture would have been ob- 
noxious to criticism. If it should be asked, 
why the faces of the other figures were, as 
Pliny asserts, uncovered, it may be answered, 
that they were mere spectators : it was by Aga- 
memnon alone that the sacrifice was ofi'ered. 
To suppose that the painter meant to mark the 
father by the veil, would be to suspect him of 
a mode of -indication unworthy of a great 
artist, — a mode that would class with the label 
of the early painters of modern Italy '^. It 
must be matter of regret, — if not of sur- 
prise, — that Tassoni has not noticed the Iphi- 

* See Tenhove, Mem. of the House of Medici, translated by 
Sir Rich. Clayton, vol, i. p. 270. Lond. 1797. Quarto, 


genia of Timanthes, since the chief incident 
in that famous picture, as described by Pliny^ 
Cicero, and Quintilian, is, in some degree, con- 
nected with the subject of this chapter. On 
the Cyclops of the same artist he bestows 
not only notice, but praise. And the ingenious 
art, or trick (if it may be so termed), which it 
is said Timanthes employed to convey an idea 
of the size of the principal figure, aifords him 
occasion to censure the clumsy devices of some 
of the artists of his own time*, and leads him 
to consider the comparative merits of the an- 
cient and modern painters. In the course of 
this critical examination he not only evinces 
much taste and considerable theoretical skill 
in the plastic art, but he furnishes some valu- 
able materials for an history of the state of the 

* Che Tlmante industriosamente significasse la grandezza del 
Ciclope col tirso del satiretto, non fu gran cosa : E i nostri la sa- 
prebbono rappresentare ancor essi con altri mezzi, in qual si 
voglia picciolissimo campo. Non biasimo pero 1' accortezza di 
Timante in rappresentare al discorso quelle, che 1' occhio non 
pud vedere ; che cosi fanno anco i nestri modemi, quando a 
rappresentar la grandezza delle Balene, fingono, che i pescatorl 
vi salgano sopra con una scala. Pens. p. 417. Ven. 1646. On 
reading this passage, my readers will recollect some of the books 
which amused their early youth, in the rude embellishments of 
which, sailors were represented in the act of ascending the back 
of a whale, by a ladder. 


fine arts in Italy in the seventeenth cen- 
tury *. 

The plan of Tassoni was not yet complete: 
a tenth book was still to be added. After a 
lapse of eight years, another edition appeared 
(1620) at Carpi, with this book subjoined f. In 
this accession to the fruits of the author's for- 
mer labours, there is a passage which merits 
the particular attention of every admirer of the 
" native wood-notes wild " of North Britain. 

In the very curious and interesting chapter 
(xxiii.) on Musici aritichi, e moderni, after men- 
tioning some extraordinary instances of the 
power of music amongst the ancients and the 
moderns, the author observes: " We may 
" reckon among us moderns, James, king of 
" Scotland, who not only composed many 
" sacred pieces of vocal music, but, also, of him- 
" self, invented a new kind of music, plaintive 
" and melancholy, different from all other; in 
" which he has been imitated by Carlo Ge- 
" sualdo, prince of Venosa, who, in our age, 
" has improved music with new and admirable 

* Lib. X. cap. 19. 

t Of the many editions which have appeared of the Pensieri, 
Muratori considers that of Veiiezia nel 1646 da Barezzo Ba-^ 
rozzi, as the best. The edition of Carpi is the one so flatteringly 
noticed by Leone Allacci. Vid. Ap. Urb. 


" invention*." With regard to the plaintive 
music which the prince of Venosa composed 
in imitation of the style of James, Tassoni 
spoke, probably, from his own knowledge, as 
he might have been personally acquainted with 
that prince during his travels in Apulia ; and it 
was, perhaps, to him he was indebted for the 
knowledge of the curious fact which he relates 
concerning the style, or kind of music invented 
by the Scottish king. Of the fact, however, 
he speaks with confidence; and as James is 
known to have solaced his captivity with the 
charms of music, some of the melancholy airs in 
which he mourned the loss of his liberty, might 

* Noi ancora possiamo connumerar tra nostri Jacopo re di 
Scozia, che non pur cose sacre compose in canto, ma trovo da se 
stesso una nuova rausica lamentevole, e mesta, diiFerente da tutte 
r altre. Nel che poi e stato imitato da Carlo Gesualdo, principe 
di Venosa, che in questa nostra eta ha illustrata anch' egU la mu- 
sica con nuove mirabili invenzioni. P. 436. Tliis passage, which 
does so much honour to Scottish music, escaped the notice of all 
the writers on that subject, until the year 1774, when it was first 
brought to light by Lord Kaimes, in his Sketches, book i. sk. 5. 
In the same work, vol. i. p. 179, Dub. edit, ; in Lives of the 
Scot, Poets, vol. i. p. 3S3, 334; Edinb, 1804; and in Mr. 
Ty tier's Diss, on Scot, Mus, subjoined to Poet, Rem. of James I. 
of Scot. p. 205, it has been satisfactorily proved, that the 
Scottish king alluded to by Tassoni, was not his contemporary 
James VI, but James I. an accomplished musician. James VI. 
had ** no music in his soul." 


have found their way into Italy, and impressed 
themselves deeply upon the minds of a people 
so feelingly alive to musical sounds as the mo- 
dem Italians are known to be. " Nor is it to be 
*' wondered at/' says Mr. Tytler, " that such 
" a genius as the prince of Venosa should be 
" struck with the genuine simplicity of strains 
" which spoke directly to the heart, and that 
" he should imitate and adopt such new and 
" affecting melodies, which he found want- 
" ing in themusicof hisowncountry*/' Should 
it be asked, through what channel those airs 
found their way into Italy, the answer is easy. 
As James introduced organs into the cathedrals 
and abbies of Scotland, and, of course, the esta- 
blishment of a choral service of church music, 
it was necessary he should open a musical in- 
tercourse with Italy, the only country in which 
harmony had yet been cultivated ; and it may 
be presumed that the agents employed by him 
to conduct or carry on this intercourse would, 
either to flatter their master, or through na- 
tional vanity, introduce into that country some 
of the sweet and plaintive airs which did so 
much honour to the taste and genius of their 

'* Diss, m Scot. Mus. p. 216. 


But however willing we may be to admit 
the fact respecting Scottish music as stated by 
Tassoni, we must not conceal that Dr. Burney, 
than whom there cannot be a more competent 
judge, " was utterly unable to discover the 
'' least similitude or imitation of Caledonian 
" airs in any of the prince of Venosa's ma- 
" drigals*/' Proceeding from so high an au- 
thority, this opinion must be considered as de- 
cisive to the extent of the investigation. But 
it is acknowledged by the ingenious historian, 
that he did not examine all the compositions 
of the prince of Venosa : his investigation was 
limited to six madrigals for five voices, and one 
for six, the only musical publications of this 
prince which met his observation. Now, it is 
not to be supposed that an imitation of king 
James's style pervaded the whole mass of the 
musical compositions of the Apulian prince; 
it might have been confined to a few essays, 
like the attempts of some of our modern poets 
to imitate the obsolete language of Chaucer 
and Spenser. And these essays might have 
escaped the sedulous and extensive researches 
of Dr. Burney f. Unless, therefore, we im- 

* Hist, of Music, vol. iii. p. 218. 

t I am warranted in this conjecture by Serassi, who, speaking 
of the madrigals composed by the prince of Venosa, says, that 


peach the veracity of Tassoui, whose fidelity 
as an historian has not, except in the present 
instance, been questioned, we must admit that 
" the music invented by James, king of Scot- 
*' land, has been imitated by Carlo Gesualdo, 
" prince of Venosa;" — a fact which has not 
been denied by any Italian writer of respect- 

Of the prince of Venosa, so honourably 
noticed by Tassoni,and so highly distinguished 
in his time, the following account is given by 
Sir John Hawkins. " Carlo Gesualdo, prince 
" of Venosa, flourished about the latter end of 
" the sixteenth century. Venosa was the 
" Venusium of the Romans, and is now a prin- 
" cipality of the kingdom of Naples, situate 
" in that part of it called the Basilicate. It is 

besides the six books published at Genoa, 1618, in folio, *' ven- 
" ticinque altri si conservano tuttavia inediti in una delle piu 
" rinomate librerie di Napoli." Vita del Tasso, p. 481. With 
copies of these madrigals, and of three letters by the prince, 
dated from Rome in 1592, Serassi was favoured by Don Franceso 
Daniele, the fortunate possessor of the originals. We learn 
from the same authority, that some of the madrigals set to 
music by Carlo Gesualdo, were supplied by Tasso, p. 480. It 
should be remembered to the honour of this accomplished 
nobleman, that he was one of the kind friends of Tasso, who 
vainly endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation between him 
and the obdurate Alfonso, p. 481. 


" famous for being the place where Horace 
'' was born ; and little less so, in the judg- 
*'■ ment of musicians, on account of the person 
" now about to be spoken of. He was, as 
" Scipione Cerreto relates, the nephew of 
" Cardinal Alfonso Gesualdo, archbishop of 
" Naples, and received his instructions in 
" music from Pomponio Nenna*, a cele- 
" bra ted composer of madrigals. Blancanus, 
"in his Chronologia Mathematicorum, speaks 
" thus of him. ' The most noble Ca- 
" rolus Gesualdus, prince of Venusium, was 
*^ the prince of musicians of our age; for 
" he having recalled the Rythmi into music, 
" introduced such a style of modulation, that 
" other musicians yielded the preference to 

* Of Neiina, Tassoni makes no mention. But he celebrates 
the Orphean powers of Guilo da Modana, who has been kno\vn, 
he says, by the sound of his harpsichord, to compel the courtiers 
of Clement VII. to quit, with uncourtly abruptness, the presence 
of his holiness. *■ Col suono d' un arpicordo si vantava di tirare 
" a se, ed invaghire qual si voglia distratta, e occupata mente : 
" E messo alia prova nell' anticamera di Papa Clemento VII. 
" con certi, che intenti a negozi gravi, e di premore, s' erano 
** ritirati in un' altra stanza con fermo proposito di non volerlo 
" sentire, in poco stanti li costrinse a correre al suono." Lib. x. 
cop. xxiii. Amongst the celebrated musicians who flourished at 
this time, was Luzzasco, who set to music, under the author's 
direction, the choruses in the Pastor Fido. See notes on the 
edition of this drama, printed at Ven. 1602. 


^' him ; and all singers and players on stringed 
" instruments, laying aside that of others, 
" every where eagerly embraced his music.' 
" Mersennus, Kircher, Doni, Berardi, and in- 
*' deed the writers in all countries, give him 
" the character of the most learned, ingenious, 
" and artificial composer of madrigals ; for it 
" was that species of music alone which he 
" studied, that ever appeared in the musical 
" world. Blancanus also relates that he died 
" in the year 16 14*." To this little narrative, 
Sir John adds, " the distinguishing excel- 
" lencies of this admirable author are, fine 
" contrivance, original harmony, and the 
" sweetest modulation conceivable: and these 
" he possessed in so eminent a degree, that 
" one of the finest musicians that these later 
" times have known, Mr. Geminiani, has been 
" often heard to declare, that he laid the 
" foundation of his studies in the works of 
" the principe di Venosa." To the praises 
bestowed by his countrymen upon the ma- 

* Hist, of Music, vol. iii. p. 212. As a fine example of the 
amorous style. Sir John Hawkins gives the music of the ma- 
drigal, Bad soavi. Serassi says, that " per giudizio degl' 
" intendenti," the Collection of Madrigals so highly praised 
by Sir John Hawkins, " e una delle piu belle che si abbiamo in 
" questo genere." Vita del Tasso, p. 480. 


drigals of the prince of Venosa, Dr. Burney 
cannot subscribe : on the contrary, he says, 
that " they seem to contain no melodies at 
" all; nor, when scored, can he discover the 
" least regularity of design, phraseology, 
" rythm, or indeed any thing remarkable in 
" them, except unprincipled modulation, and 
" the perpetual embarrassment and inexpe- 
" rience of an amateur, in the arrangement 
" and filling up of the parts'^." These stric- 
tures, however severe, are, I am confident, 
just: but, as has been already observed, it 
still remains to be proved, that no attempt had 
been made by the Apulian prince to imitate 
the airs of Caledonia. 

Indeed, Tassoni's countrymen seem to have 
silently acquiesced in his assertion, that the 
style of Italian music had been improved by 
the occasional adoption and imitation of 
Scottish melodies. But a chapter in the 
same book of his Pensieriy entitled " Se 
" il Boia sia infame, — (Whether the office 
" of Executioner be infamous)" — excited a 
murmur of discontent amongst his readers. 
That the office of executioner is necessary in 
a state, could not be denied: but it was 

• Hist, of Music, vol. iii. p. 218. 


thought extraordinary that he should enter- 
tain any doubt in regard to the infamy which 
attends the employment, and may be said to 
cover the officer. He labours to obtain for 
the executioner a degree of respectability in 
society, asserting his claim to our gratitude 
for the security he affords our persons and 
properties, by dispatching thieves, murderers, 
and all the pests of society (amongst whom, 
by the bye, he includes heretics) ; and, as a 
proof of the respectability of the office in the 
days of chivalry, he quotes Ariosto, to show 
that the paladins sometimes condescended to 
perform the duty of hangman. But the critics 
could not divest themselves of the horror 
which " the halter and gibbet" inspired ; and 
the hangman, in spite of the ingenuity of 
his advocate, was condemned to eternal in- 
famy ^. 

* There still exists in the upper cloister of the Escurial, a 
picture representing the beheading of Santiago, in which El 
Mudo, the painter, has inserted the portrait of Santoyo, (prime 
minister to Philip IT.) in the character of the executioner, in 
revenge for some ill offices which that minister had done him, 
Santoyo, who entertained some doubts in regard to the re- 
spectability of the character of a hangman, which, it is pro- 
bable, the ingenious arguments of Tassoni would not have beei^ 


It will, I fear, be thought that I have dwelt 
too long upon the Pensieri, But I wish to 
obtain some notice for this valuable work 
amongst my countrymen, to whom it seems 
to be little known*. To the French nation 
it was rendered, in some degree, familiar by 
the translation of M. Jean Baudouinf. And 

able to remove, solicited Philip to permit his figure to be e%- 
punged : but the king would not allow the picture to be defaced. 
See Cumberland , Anec. of Paint, in Spain, vol. i. p. 72. 

* It is justly observed bj Mr. Tytler, that " the book De 
" diversi Pensieri, though printed near two centuries ago, and 
" containing a great deal of learning and curious observation, is 
" but little known on this side of the Alps." Diss, on the Scot. 
Music, p. 205. 

t This translation I have never seen. All my information 
concerning it, is derived from the Apes Urbane of Allacci, who, 
speaking of the Pensieri, says, " Certe hoc ipsum a Baldovino 
*' clari nominis librorum interprete in linguam GalJicam verti, ut 
" impiimatur, retulit mihi Hbrorum heluo Naudaeus," &c. Of 
the translator little is known that can be related with pleasure. 
He may be said to have struggled through life. He was a 
native of Pradella in the Vivarais, Margaret of France, and 
the Marechal de Marillac, successively patronised him. He af- 
tenvards fell into neglect, and earned a scanty subsistence by 
translating for the booksellers. Besides the translation of the 
Pensieri, he published versions of Sallust, Tacitus, Lucian, 
Suetonius, and some of the prose pieces of Tasso under the 
title of Les Morales de Torquato Tasso; all of which being 
hastily executed, are iueicgant and inaccurate. " Tous ses 
" ouvrages," says Chaudon, " furent dictes par la faim, et sont. 


Daniel Giorgio Morhofio, a learned writer of 
Germany, recommends it to the particular at- 
tention of his compatriots mFolyhist, Literar. 
lib. i. cap, xxi. 

Amongst the learned and ingenious Italians 
who hailed the appearance of the Pensieriy and 
expatiated on its various merits, was Boccalini. 
Immediately on the publication of the first 
edition in nine books, an article appeared in the 
Ragguagli di Parnaso, stating, that a so- 
lemn meeting had been convened in the court 
of Apollo, at which, for the satisfaction of 
such members as might wish to hear the con- 
troversies of illustrious men, the Pemieri of 
Alessandro Tassoni was ordered to be pro- 
duced after dinner, and read aloud. A long 
discussion ensued. This, as the last article 
in the Ragguagli di Parnaso, must occasion 
a melancholy sensation in the mind of the 

** par consequent, tres peu estiraables." He died at Paris in 
1650, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. 

Since writing the above note, I discovered Baudoin amongst 
the early French translators of the Ger. Liberata. See Serassi, 
Vita del Tasso, Rom. 1735, p. 566—595. 


reader, on recollecting that soon after its 
appearance the ingenious author fell a vic- 
tim to the Spanish faction, which, as will 
hereafter be shown, so long persecuted 

As Boccalini is numbered, by Tiraboschi, 
with the writers whose productions throw light 
upon the literary history of the period in which 
Tassoni flourished, he has a claim to the pass- 
ing notice of his biographer. 

Trajano Boccalini was the son of the ar- 
chitect who erected the church dedicated to 
the Virgin in Loreto, in which city he was 
born in 1556. Recommended to the attention 
of the court of Rome by his political writings, 
the government of some cities in the Eccle- 
siastical State were intrusted to his care ; 
but proving merely a theoretical politician, he 
was dismissed from the service of that court. 
He then retired to Venice, where he wrote 
and published several works, many of which 
abound in learning, wit, and humour; but all 
are supposed to have a strong political ten- 
dency, — particularly^ his commentary on 
Tacitus, and the Ragguagli di Pamaso, 
The latter work, from the nature of its plan, 
afforded a wide field for the diffiision of his 
opinions on literary and political subjects. 


Apollo is represented as holding a court, to 
which, on the several days of meeting, intel- 
ligence is brought of all the occurrences 
passing in the literary and political world, 
and the various subjects thus supplied, are 
freely discussed by special pleaders, before 
the tribunal of the presiding deity*. In 
La Pietra del Paragone Politico, or. The 
Political Touchstone, he had expressed his 
sentiments with greater freedom. It was 
therefore thought prudent to withhold that 
work from the public during his lifetime. 
His death, which occurred at Venice in 1615, 

• In 1706, an English translation of the Ragguagli di ParnasOf 
and La Pietra del Paragone, was published under the direction 
of J. Hughes, author of The Siege of Damascus. In the preface 
to this publication^ the following account is given of the Rag- 
guagli di Parnaso, ** 'Tis a new-invented kind of fable, very 
" different from any thing which had ever been written before, 
" and therefore it may justly be esteemed an original ; a 
** character which BoccaJini boldly assumes to himself in his 
** preface, and in the 43d page of his Ragguagli, or Advices, 
" though a conceited witling would lately have robbed him of 
*' that honour. 'Tis very plain that this happy Italian genius 
** is no copier, but that his project is his own ; for he is the 
*' first that erected a secretary's office in Parnassus, and gave 
" advices from thence of what passed among the viituosi of that 
" place; and, therefore, for the novelty of his invention he 
" compares himself to Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of 
** a new world." Advices from Parnassus. Lond, 1706. Folio. 


is said to have been occasioned by a violent 
beating with bags of sand (sacculis plenis arena 
contusus), vphich he received from some men 
in disguise, who stole on him in his sleep, 
and who were supposed to have been em- 
ployed by the Spanish faction to commit this 
diabolical deed, in revenge for the invectives 
against the court of Spain, in which he oc- 
casionally indulged in some of his writings'^. 

Soon as the first enlarged edition of the 
Pensieri had (l6l2) passed through the press, 
Tassoni felt his mind relieved from an op- 
pressive weight which had long burthened it, 
and he determined to enter again upon the 
busy scene of active life, from which he had, 
for sometime, retired, — probably with a view 
to the accomplishment of his literary pro- 
jects, — or, perhaps, in disgust at the ill suc- 
cess of his various attempts to obtain a re- 
spectable situation in the papal court. " It 
" has never," says he, " been my good for- 
" tune to gain admission for my name within 
" the doors of the Dattaria of the Roman 

* Leti, speaking of this assassination, says, " fu creduto 
" che il colpo venisse dagli Spagnoli, raa hebbero la maggior 
" parte un fratello, et un marito, d'una donna ch' egli acca- 
" rezzava." II Cerem. HisU e Polit. part iv. lib. ix. p. 775. 
Amst. 1685. 


" court, where so many asses and horses 
" enter ^." This was one of the disappoint- 
ments that led to the thirteenth Quisito of the 
second book of the Pensierif — " Se le stelle 
^* della Libra sieno infelici col Sole; e se il 
*' nascere di Settembre sia di buono, d di tristo 
" augurio." — The result of this investigation, 
was full conviction to the mind of the author 
upon two points. First, that September is the 
most calamitous month in the year to the 
human race : and, secondly, that a man who 
happens to be born in the course of that month, 
stands a bad chance of preferment. Should 
we feel inclined to smile at these conclusions, 
we must, however, applaud the author's pious 
resignation to the will of Heaven, expressed 
in the same chapter. After enumerating se- 
veral facts in support of his position, supplied 
by history and by observation, in the pursuit 
of his inquiry, he adds : " But notwithstanding 

* *• Poiche siamo entrati su '1 ragionar di stelle," says he, 
*' esserid' io nato di Settembre col sole in libra, e con poca 
** fortuna sempre in tutte le cose mie, e particularmente per 
** haver faticato trentasett' anni nella corte di Roma e non 
*' haver mai havuto grazia, che il mio nome possa entrar dent'ro 
" le porte di quella Dattaria, dove eutravano tant' asini, e tanti 
" cavalli ; la curiosita mi muove ad investigare, se le stelle di 
** quel segno congionte al sole sieno felici, o infelici, e se ii 
** nascere di quel raese sia di buono, o di tristo presagio." P. 49. 


" all these reasons, and a thousand others 
" which might be adduced, I am of opinion, 
" that if these causes had any share (parte 
" alcima,) in rendering my birth unfortunate, 
" it was by permission of the Almighty, with 
" a view to correct and mortify my proud and 
" ambitious spirit*." 

Muratori supposes that after Tassoni had 
quitted (1605) the service of the Cardinal Co- 
lonna, he entered into that of some other 
noble personage, although he was not able to 
discover any particular document to support 
that conjecture. But as Tassoni, like Milton, 
sometimes mingled personal history with his 
polemical writings, he, in some degree, solves 
the difficulty himself: for he relates in^ the 
Tenda Rossa, that ten years of his early life 
had been passed in visiting the principal 
learned seminaries in Italy, and in attending 
the lectures of the most celebrated professors ; 
and the sixteen following years, (which in- 
clude the period of his withdrawing from the 
service of the Cardinal Colonna,) he was, he 
continues, employed in the courts of Spain 
and Rome, chiefly by persons of high rank, 
who were addicted to the pursuit of letters. 

* Lib, ii, ch, xiii. 


This appef'ats to be the general outline of his 
active life to the year I6l3, when he intro- 
duced himself into the court of Carlo Ema- 
nuele, duke of Savoy. Carlo was one of the most 
distinguished amongst " a race of princes, 
" more sagacious in discovering their true 
" interest, more decisive in their resolutions, 
" and more dexterous in availing themselves 
" of every occurrence which presented itself, 
" than any perhaps that can be singled out in 
" the history of mankind*." Environed by 
powerful neighbours, whose motions it was: 
necessary to watch with the strictest atten- 
tion, their characters were, in a great degree, 
formed by their situation. To the qualifica- 
tions in a prince so circumstanced, Carlo united 
an ardent passion for letters. He loved and 
patronised the sciences and the elegant arts ; 
and he invited the wandering- muses to his 
court. Tassoni relates, that he has seen him 
seated at a table surrounded with sixty pre- 
lates, and erudite men of different countries t, 

- * Robertson, Hist, of Charles V. book xii. 

t It does not fall within my plan to enumerate the sever^ 
men of learning and talents, who visited the court of Turin 
during the reign of Carlo, or who were employed in his service. 
I shall therefore only observe, that he had the honour to number 
amongst his secretaries, Marino, Murtola, and Guarini. Chiabrera 


conversing learnedly upon the various and 
dissimilar subjects of history, poetry, physic, 
chemistry, astronomy, tactics, and the fine 
arts, varying his language according to the 
nature of his subject, or according to the par- 
ticular nation or pursuit of the respective per- 
sons whom he occasionally addressed. Of 
the fruits of his studies, there still remain, 
or were lately remaining, in his own hand- 
writing, two voluminous manuscripts, in 
Italian, of an history of the founders of the 
principal European monarchies, and a treatise, 
in French, on Heraldry^. The wisdom, learn- 
ing, and valorous deeds of this amiable, ac- 
complished, and heroic prince, are recorded 
in the page of history; and his taste, genius, 
and munificence, live in the glowing numbers 
of Marino, Chiabrera, Guarini, and Tassoni. 
The two latter poets allude to the peculiarity 

refused a situation in his court, but experienced his munificence. 
His kindness to Tasso in his adversity is recorded by Serassi, 
Vita del Tasso. Rom. 1785. P. 276. 

♦ These MSS. existed, not long since, in the royal library at 
Turin J but it is to be feared that they were either lost, or de- 
stroyed during the war which committed such dreadful ravages 
upon that once beautiful, — once flourishing city. A melancholy 
picture of the present state of Turin may be found iu Travels 
after the Peace of Amiens. By J, G» Le Maitre, Esq. vol. i. 
p. 170, 


of his political situation*. Guarini, with 
great elegance, thus addresses his lovelj 

Sposa di quel gran duce, 

Al cui senno, al cui petto, alia cui destra 

Comraise il ciel la cura 

De r Italiche mura; 

wife of him, to whose breast, hand and wit, 
Heaven did the walls of Italy commit t. 


The Spaniards, who were now in possession 
of the Milanese, which bordered upon the 
dominions of Carlo, began to look down with 

* Tassoni thus addresses him at the opening of the poem, 
Dell' Oceano: 

Tu magnanimo Carlo, a cui le porte 
D' Italia il re del ciel diede in governo. 

Boccalini calls Carlo the " propugnacolo e scudo della liberta 
" d' Italia." Ragg* di Parn. Part iii. Ragg. 40. And Sir Richard 
Fanshaw, in the dedication to his version of the Pastor Fidoy 
says, " He proved in his riper years, by his councils and hy hi» 
" prowess, the bulwark of Italy." Lond. 1676. Several son- 
nets on the victories, and on the studies of Carlo, may be found 
in Oper. del Chiabrera, torn. i. et ii. Ven. 1782. 

t Past. Fido. prol. This beautiful drama was (1585) first 
publicly represented in the court of Turin, on occasion of the. 
marriage of Carlo with Catherine of Austria. The duke re- 
warded the author with a gold chain. See Lett, del Guarini. 
Ven. 1599. P. 155. See also Add, Notes, and Append. No. IV., 


contempt upon their little neighbour, and as- 
sumed a threatening aspect. Roused, but not 
intimidated, Carlo hurled defiance at them, 
and they shrunk back dismayed. Struck with 
the undaunted courage which the duke dis- 
played on this occasion, Tassoni took frequent 
occasion to extol his conduct in his corre- 
spondence with Carlo Porta, count of Po- 
linghera*, and with the count of Verrau, two 
noblemen then residing in the court of Savoy. 
Pleased with the approbation of so celebrated 
a literary character. Carlo addressed a letter 
to Tassoni, dated 12th November, l6l.'3, in 
which he thanked him for the flattering man- 
ner in which he had mentioned him in his 

* In a letter to the count of Polingliera on the subject of the 
war between the duke of Savoy and the duke of Mantua, 
Tassoni thus mentions the former : — " Non basta la Prudenza 
" ai capitani grandi se non sono accompagnati della fortuua. II 
" serenissimo signor duca e stato in un medesimo tempo pru- 
*' dente, e fortunato a depositar le piazze prese in mano del re, 
" prima che sieno giunti gli ajuti de' signori N. N. i quali veni- 
" vano non solamente con un numero d'Infanteria tale, che ha 
" desertate molte compagne di baccelli. Ma quel che e peggio," 
he adds with his usual humour, " fiancheggiavan 1' esercito a 
" piedi tre mila dromedari marchiani, che avrebbero spaventati 
" dieci mila elefanti." In this war, the duke of Savoy made 
a noble stand against the Spaniards, and at length obliged them 
to give up Verceil, a strong hold in the Milanese. Marianera, 
Sapp. a I'Hist. Gen. d'Espag. torn, vi. p. 90. 


correspondence^ and sent him, at the same 
time, an order on his minister at Naples for 
two hundred Roman crowns. The generous 
intention of the duke was, however, defeated ; 
for the fund from which the money was to be 
drawn, proved inadequate to the supply. Nor 
was Tassoni more fortunate on another occa- 
sion on which the duke wished to evince his 
gratitude and munificence. He issued an 
order to his minister at Rome to present the 
poet with thirty pieces of gold, and three 
hundred gold crowns out of certain benefices 
in Piedmont, which were daily expected to 
become vacant: but the incumbents were in 
no haste to depart, and Tassoni waited in 
vain for their removal to a better world. The 
promised pieces, says Muratori, never ap- 
peared; and he adds, jocosely, that "la 
^' poca fortuna del Tassoni fa la salute de' 
" prelati ricchi Piemontesi, perche in due anni 
" non ne mori mat alcuno. — The ill fortune of 
" Tassoni was health to the rich prelates of 
" Piedmont, for in the course of two years 
" after, not one of them died." 

Again Tassoni had to lament his poca 

fortuna. Indeed it would seem, that from 

the moment his connexion with the House 

of Savoy commenced, his evil star began to 


prevail. Anxious to give him a solid and liii- 
equivocal proof of his esteem, the duke ap- 
pointed him (1618) secretary to an embassy 
to Rome, and gentleman in ordinary to the 
prince cardinal his son, with an annual salary 
of three hundred and fifty-one ducatoni da 
Fiorini. He accepted the title of gentleman 
in ordinary to the cardinal, but he refused 
that of secretary to the ambassadour, although 
he undertook the duties of the office, assign- 
ing such reasons for his refusal as satisfied the 
ambassadour. He continued two years in the 
house of his new master, who treated him with 
great honour and respect, but his salary still 
remained unpaid, nor did he ever receive any 
part of it. This seeming fatality in his affairs 
drew from him, on another occasion, the fol- 
lowing peevish remark : " I do not despair," 
says he, in a letter to his friend Barisoni, *^ of" 
" seeing, ere 1 die, the mountains of the earth 
" fly before me, if I should happen to have 
" occasion to ascend one of them." 

It was probably during his residence in the 
house of the ambassadour of the duke of Savoy 
at Rome, that he undertook a compendium of 
the Ecclesiastical Annals of Cardinal Baronius; 
a work upon which, it appears from a letter to 
his friend Barisoni, he was employed in 1615. 


" I have been lately engaged/' says he, " in 
'^ epitomising, in the vulgar tongue, the An- 
" nah of Baroriius. Should I not be inter- 
" rupted, I hope to complete my undertaking 
" in the course of a year, and to give more 
*' matter, expressed with more clearness and 
" brevity, than any of the former Latin epi- 
" tomists. You will wonder that I should 
" have the hardiness to attempt to epitomise, 
*' in one year, twelve volumes of so enormous 
" a size, that any other person would be 
" frightened at the idea of reading even 
" four of them in the same space of time. — 
" But be it known unto you, that in the Anno 
" Santo I epitomised, in Latin, eight volumes 
'^ in eight months ; and, with the aid of what I 
" did then, I hope to accomplish within a 
" year, what I have, at present, in hand." Of 
the Latin compendium to which he alludes, it 
has been doubted whether or not any vestige 
remains. Muratori, however, thinks that the 
original manuscript fell, by some accident, 
into the hands of Lodovico Aurelio, and that 
it was printed and published by him at Rome, 
in l635, as his own production, with the fol- 
lowing title : Annales Ecclesiastici C^Bsaris 
Baronijf S. R. E. Cardinalis a Ludovico Au- 
relioj Periisino, in totidem libellos brevissime 


redactif &c.* The Italian epitome has 
never passed through the press: but three 
copies of it, in the hand-writing of the au- 
thor, were in existence so late as the year 
1744. One of these copies extends to the 
year 1469t- The original work was not 
brought down lower than 1200. The annals 
of the two hundred and sixty-nine years fol- 
lowing, were compiled by Tassoni himself 
from authentic documents, some of which were 
supplied by the elector of Bavaria. Under the 
year 1249, Tassoni takes occasion to mention 
the poem to which he owes his celebrit3^ 
" This war, in which king Enzius was taken 

* Muratori supports his conjecture with cogent reasons, which 
may be found in his Vita del Tassoni, p. 81. 

t This copy was, when Muratori wrote, *' presso il conte 
" Alfonso Sassi" in Modena. La biblioteca Estense, and 1' Ar- 
chivio della communita di Modena, were then enriched with the 
other two copies. Ibid. p. 81. And M. de Cahors, writing in 
1758, says, " Le Roi (of France) en a une copie dans sa 
" bibUotheque." He adds, " Cet ouvrage est fort connu, et tres- 
** estime, quoiqu'on ne I'ait qu'eu manuscript." And he further 
informs us, that " Raimond Merlz et Jacques Mayer, marchands 
" libraires a Ausbourg, avoient annonces, en 1740, qu'ils al- 
" loient mettre sous presse, en huit volumes, en folio, i'Histoire 
" du Tassoni, qui s'etend jusqu'au quinzieme siecle, et qu'ils 
" en doniieroient la continuation jusqu'a notre tems. Mais 
*' cette edition n'a point encore paru." Le Seau Enlev^, 
torn. iii. p. 214. 


" prisoner*, was sung by us in our youth f, 
" in a poem entitled La Secchia Rapita, which 
" we believe will, for its novelty, live long, it 
" being a mixture of heroic, comic, and satiric, 
'* such as has never been seen before. The 
" wooden bucket, which we feign to have 
" been the cause of the war, is preserved in 

• Cant, vi, sf. 43. " The palace, which fronts the church 
" San Petronio, (in Bologna), was built by the Bolonians for 
" a prison for Enzo, king of Sardegna, where he lived, and, at 
" the cost of the public, was roj'ally entertained for twenty 
" years, till his death." Warcupp, Italy in its original Glory, 
Ruine, ^c, p. 89. 

t Tassoni takes much pains to impress upon his readers, that 
the Secchia Rapita was written in his j^outh. He was, however, 
in the forty-sixth year of his age when he undertook that poem ; — 
a poem which may be added to the instances adduced by Dr. 
Beattie in support of his assertion, " that the best human corapo- 
" sitions have been written, or at least finished, when the author 
" was above forty." Account of the Life and Writings of James 
Beattie, vol. i. p. 281. Edinb. 1807. Oct. Cowper, who, like 
Tassoni, " crack'd the satyric thong," was fifty years of age when 
he commenced author : and he had reached his fifty-third year 
when he wrote his incomparable Task ; a moral satire, which has 
as just a claim to the praise of originality as the Secchia Rapita. 
It is a poem, as his amiable and affectionate biographer observes, 
*f of such original and diversified excellence, that as it arose 
" without the aid of any model, so it will probably remain. 
" for ever unequalled by a succession of imitators." Hayleyy 
Life of Cowper. Lond. 1806, vol. iv. p. 229. Ibid. vol. ii.' 
p. 279—281. - 


" tlie archives of the cathedral of Modena*^.; 
*' and it is said, that, some months before that 
" event, it was taken in a skirmish between 
" the Modenese and the Bolognese within the 
« gate of S. Felice." 

Caesar Baronius, author of the Annals, which 
Tassoni first epitomised, and then continued, 
was born in 1538, at Sora, a small town in the 
Terra di Lavora, in the kingdom of Naples. 
About the year 1560 he entered into the con- 
gregation of the Fathers of the Oratory, in- 
stituted at Rome by S. Filippo Neri. When 
the doctrines of the Reformers began not only 
to spread, but to take deep root, S. Filippo 
exhorted Baronius to undertake the Eccle- 

* De la Lande thus describes the tower in which the bucket it 
suspended. " La tour de cette eglise (the cathedral) s'appelle 
*' la Guirlandina: elle est toute en raarbre, et I'une des plus 
" ^levees de I'ltalie ; elle est isolee ; sa forme est carree, et elle 
" finit en pointe comrae un clocher. II y a des curieux qui vont 
*' dans le bas de cette tour, voir La Secchia Ra^pita ; c'est un 
" vieux seau de bois d'une moj^enne grandeur, garnis de trois 
" cercles de fer, suspendu dans uu lieu obscur et humide " Voy, 
en Ital. torn. ii. p. 197. Tlie state of this celebrated bucket was 
deplorable when M. Le Maitre visited Modena : a fragment of 
it only remained. Trav. vol. i. p. 293. Ozell thinks this bucket 
" a piece of antiquity worthy to be seen, as holding the third 
" place, next to the ship of Argos, and Noah's ark." Notes upon 
cant, i. of the Rape of the Buchet. Lond. 1T15. 


siastical Annals, and soon after resigned to 
him the chair, or presidency of the Oratory. 
Ail the literary treasures of the Vatican were 
now opened to Baronius ; and he laboured in- 
cessantly, for forty years, in endeavouring to 
refute the dangerous doctrines, and alarming 
historical facts, contained in the Centuries 
Magdahurgenses. In order to animate him 
in this great undertaking, Clement VIIL 
raised him (159t)) to the dignity of cardinal, 
and appointed him librarian of the Vatican- 
But Baronius did not live to complete his 
plan. He died in 1607^, having brought 

* In the Galeria of INIarino is the following ritralto of 
Baronius : 

Gran Cronlsta di Dio, 

Mcntre, che scrissi i suoi terreni annali, 

Fui negli annali eterni ascritto anch' io j 

E trattando la penua alzai le penne 

Cola ; dov 'egli venne 

A scriver soura i di caduchi, e frali 

Di quesf anno mio breve anni imraortali. 

I exhibit this ritratto merely as a specimen of the forced 
conceits, and play upon words, which prevail so generally in the 
writings of Marino ; and which, unfortunately, fomid many 
imitators, not only in Italj', but in England ; and produced, at 
length, a race of writers that Dr, Johnson denominates " me- 
*' taphysical poets ;" and upon whom he has written some re- 
-marks, which cannot be too often read, or^too highly praised* 


down his Annals no lower than 1200*. But 
the great body of materials he had amassed, 
enabled Oderic Rinaldi to complete the ori- 
ginal design. While Baronius was digesting 
the materials for the first volume of his Annals, 
he published (1586) an edition of the Roman 
Martyrology, with learned annotations. His 
EpistolcB & Opuscula were published in three 
volumes, long after his death, by P. Raimond 
Alberici, his biographer. 

While Tassoni still resided in Rome, Paolo 
A prile, chief secretary of correspondence to the 
duke, and to his son, the cardinal of Savoy, 
diedf. The count of Veruna, who highly 

See Life of Cowley, book iv. See also sect. i. of Mr. Scott's 
edition of the Works of John Dryden. Land. 1808. It is justlj 
observed by Mr. Scott, that the style, which is the object of our 
censure, evinced the deep learning of the age. *' It required 
" store of learning," says he, " to supply the perpetual ex- 
" penditure of extraordinary and far-fetched illustration." 

* Had Baronius lived to witness the effect of his Annals upon 
the mind of Jasper Scioppius, he would have felt amply rewarded 
for the labour attending the compilation. " On reading the 
" Annals of Cardinal Baronius," says Dr. Zouch, " he (Scioppius) 
** abjured the Protestant religion, in 1599, and was admitted 
" into the community of the church of Rome." Walton's Lives, 
p. 129, note (k). York, 1807. 

t This event is mentioned mysteriously by Muratori. " Essendo 
" poscia avvenute che 1' umana Giustizia levo dal mondo per 
" enorme fallo Paolo Aprile, che serviva di primario segretarip 
** delle lettere," &c. 


esteemed Tassoni, proposed him to the duke 
and to the cardinal, as a proper person to fill 
the office now become vacant by the death of 
Aprile, — a proposal to which he found little 
difficulty in prevailing on them to accede. 
Some months, however, were employed in ne- 
gociating the affiiir; but in May, 16*20, it was 
concluded. Tassoni was immediately ordered 
to repair to Turin, and, at the same time, fur- 
nished with three hundred Roman crowns, to 
defray the expenses of his journey. From 
Rome he bent his course towards Modena, 
Cardinal Pio, the pope's legate at Ferrara, 
informed of the route he had taken, sent him 
a kind and pressing letter of invitation, en- 
treating he would make that city his way, and 
indulge him with his company for at least two. 
days. With this invitation he complied, and 
was received with all the warmth of affection 
by the cardinal. But the flattering attentions 
of his friend could not, it may be presumed, 
totally banish from his mind the train of me- 
lancholy ideas which must naturally have been 
excited by the scenes around him. Ferrara, 
once the Athens of Italy*, was now the gloomy 

* See Tiraboschi, Star, delta Letter. ltd. vol. v. p. 24:, 
Mod. 1775, for an account of the court of Ferrara durins the 


abode of superstition. Its swans were mute; 
its glory was extinguished ; and its rightful so- 
vereign exiled. From this fallen city, then 
languishing in the iron grasp of papal ty- 
ranny *, he proceeded to Modena, where he 
passed several days in the society of his re- 
latives and friends, and in visiting the neigh- 
bouring nobility and gentry. 

Having suffered from the rancour of the 
critics, Tassoni was now to experience the 
baleful influence of the intrigues of a corrupt 
court. Arrived at Turin, he was desired by 
the prince cardinal to present himself at the 
levy of the duke his father. With some dif- 
ficulty he obtained an audience. The duke 
received him graciously, but addressed only a 
few words to him ; and he was soon after told, 
that he should be informed when he would be 
admitted to another audience. He then retiredf. 

middle ages. For an account of its splendour immediately pre- 
vious to its fall, see Serassi, Vita del Tasio, lib. ii. Gibbon, 
Antiq. of the House of Brunswick, sect. iii. 

• When Bishop Burnet visited (1685) Fenara, he found " the 
*' soil abandoned, and uncultivated; nor were there hands 
" enough so much as to mow their grass, which we saw wither- 
*• ing in their meadows, to our no small wonder." Letter iv. 

t On reaching the foot of the stairs of the palace, after retiring 
from the presence-chamber, Tassoni encountered a ludicrous em- 
barrassment, which excites the risibility of Muratori, but of 


And in the course of a few days after this in- 
auspicious interview with his new patron, he 
entered on the duties of his office; but he 
awaited in vain the expected summons to the 
promised audience. At length the duke ho- 
nestly and honourably acknowledged, that his 
reserve was owing to some private information 
he had received to his disadvantage. This 
proved to be really the case ; for Tassoni dis- 
covered that some of his enemies had been 
secretly doing him ill offices with the duke*. 

which delicacy forbids me to take any further notice. Descrip- 
tions, which would sully the page of history, may not only be 
endured, but pardoned, in a burlesque poem. Accordingly we 
do not consider as misplaced in the Trivia of Gay, book ii. /. 29t — 
300, an incident somewhat similar to the one which I have ex- 
cluded from the text. — Having noticed the Trivia, I shall take 
this occasion to observe, that it is one of the burlesque poems 
which may be said to have emanated from La Secchia Rapitct. 
It is, however, a mock-heroic of a peculiar kind ; it is a didactic 
poem, — a poem " in the plan and execution of w^hich," as Dr. 
Aikin justly observes, " Gay has undoubtedly the claim of an in- 
" ventor." Lett, on a Course of Eng. Poet. p. 53. 

* Tassoni had reason to rejoice, that, in consequence of the . 
machinations of the secretaries, he had only to endure the frowns, 
and not, like Marino, to suifer from the wrath of the duke. 
Amongst the many interesting incidents in the eventful life of 
Marino, we find that Murtola, one of the secretaries of the court, 
whose life had been recently spared at the requisition of Marino, 
basely, unjustly, and ungenerously accused him of slandering the 
duke in his juvenile poem entitled La C^iccagni, and succeeded, 



" The secretaries of the court," says Muratori, 
" beheld, with an evil eye, this foreign bird 
" (ucello forestiere) that was about to insinuate 
" himself into their manor */' They were, in 
fact, jealous of the abilities of Tassoni, and 
dreaded the superiority of his talents, and the 
powers of his ready pen; and therefore prac- 
tised all their dark arts to exclude him. At 
this time, Prince Filiberto, the second son of 
the duke, returned from the court of Spain, 
with private instructions to endeavour to ac- 
commodate the differences between his father 
and that court, and, if possible, to unite him 
in bonds of amity with the Spanish nation. 
This seemed to the secretaries a favourable 
moment for the accomplishment of their de- 
signs against the foreign intruder. They 
represented to Filiberto, that he was, ex pro- 
fesso, an enemy to the Spaniards, and that to 

at length, in having him thrown into prison. Such is the power- 
ful influence of 

La meretrice, che mai dell' ospizio 
Di Cesare non torse gli occhi putti, 
Morte commune, e delle corti vizio. 

Inferno. Cant. xiii. I. 64 — 66^ 

* Vedevano di mal occhio, questo ucello forestiere, che voleve 
mtrodursi nella loro bandita. P. 67, 


introduce such a person into the service of 
the court at that time, might defeat, or en- 
danger, the projected union of the two powers. 
They also made him beheve, that Tassoni was 
author of the invectives which had appeared, 
not long before, against the Spanish monarchy, 
under the titles of Le Filippichey a,nd L* Esequie 
della riputazione di Spagna ,*" and that, there- 
fore, it would be imprudent, if not dangerous, 
to employ, in conducting the negotiation, a 
person so inimical to, or so strongly prejudiced 
against, one of the parties concerned, particu- 
larly as all the letters and state papers must, 
of course, pass officially through his hands. 
They even prevailed on the governor of Milan 
to write a letter of complaint against him to 
the court of Turin. Such was the rancour 
with which they pursued an unoffending man, 
merely, as Muratori supposes, because they 
feared that the splendour of his talents would 
render their official insufficiency more con- 
spicuous, and thus lessen their influence in 
a court that their conduct disgraced : an ap- 
prehension which, it must be allowed, was 
not totally groundless; for the life and cha- 
racter of Tassoni affi^rd a refutation of the 
vulgar notion, that philosophy and practical 


good sense in business, are incompatible at* 

But Muratori, whose knowledge of man- 
kind seems to have been bounded by the 
narrow circle in which he moved, does not, 
perhaps, assign the true, at least the only, 
cause of the conduct of the secretaries to- 
wards Tassoni. Is it not natural to suppose 
that the Spaniards would employ some of the 
torrent of wealth, which was then flowing into 
their countr}'^ from South America, in corrupt- 
ing the subordinate officers of a court which 
they were endeavouring to gain over to their 
interest; and that, therefore, it may be pre- 
sumed the secretaries were chiefly, if not 
solely, actuated by the secret influence of 
Spanish gold ? I am warranted in this con- 
jecture,- — a conjecture which I would be sorry 
to hazard upon slight grounds, — by the fol- 
lowing passage in the Pietra di Paragone, or 
the Political Touchstone of Boccalini, which was 
written about this time.^-^Speaking of the 
various means employed by the king of 
Spain to enlarge his sovereignty in Italy, 

* I borrow this observation from Mr. Fox's well-drawn cha- 
racter of Sir William Temple. Hist* of James II, Introd. chapter. 


the author says, (I borrow the translation of 
Mr. Hughes,) " Behold stipends and salaries 
" given to others, with vain titles and hopes; 
" see dissensions studiously sown and nou- 
'' rished between princes and their vassals, 
" between the nobility and the commons, 
" and the part of the commons taken against 
" the nobility, and the abettors may gain the 
" applause and faction of the multitude. Be- 
" hold the Golden Fleece, and other empty 
" titles and honours given to some noblemen, 
" that by these shadows they may be deluded 
" into slavery, and their estates consumed*." 

It is, however, acknowledged by Tassoni*s 
biographers, that the charges against him 
in regard to his enmity to the Spaniards, 
were not totally groundless f: he was, says 
Muratori, strongly prejudiced against them 
on account of their imperious conduct in 

* Adv. from Parnassus, p. 395. Land. 1706. FoL Of the 
Political Touchstone, Leti truly observes, that it was an "Opera 
" che toccava troppo al vivo la piaga che in quei tempi gli 
" Spagnoli volevano che fosse coperta, manifestando la tirannia 
" ch' escercitavano nei regno di Napoli, e li disegni che havevano 
" d' imbrigliar tutta 1' Italia." — 11 Cerem. Hist, e Polit. torn. iv. 
p. 775» Amst. 1685. Voltaire alludes to the political influence 
of the Spaniards in Italy at this time, in his Remarqiies sm 
le Cid, 

t Muratori, Tiraboschi, M. Landi, M. 


Italy. And we are told by the same writer, 
that he saw in the possession of Count Alfonso 
Sassi, a descendant of Tassoni's friend, Anni- 
bale Sassi, two Filippiche, or orations against 
Philip III. king of Spain, in which the au- 
thor animates the Italians to unite against the 
Spaniards. These Filippiche were in an hand- 
writing which appeared to Muratori to be 
ver}^ similar to that of Tassoni ; and the stile 
piccante, or pungent style, would, he thinks, 
lead to a suspicion that they were his pro- 
ductions. Yet Tassoni solemnly protests he 
was not the author of them. " I declare to 
" God," says he in a letter to a friend, ^' I 
" have never composed any paper on the sub- 
" ject, but the answer to Soccino of Genoa, 
*^ who had written against the duke of Savoy 
" in a villanous manner, — villana maniera^. 
" Of the Filippiche there are seven ; the greater 
" number of which relate to the political con- 
" cerns of the Venetians with the house of 
" Austria, of which I never had any intima- 

* The invective to which Tassoni alludes, was, probably, the 
R6ponse Apologetique subjoined to the rare edi+ton of the FU 
lippiche published in 1615. " Ces harangues," says M. Landi, 
" sent suivies d'une Reponse Apologetique de i'Espagne, et I'on 
" y trouve des invectives sanglantes contre Charles Emmanuel, 
" due de Savoye." Hist, de la Litt. de Vital, torn. v. p. 239. 


" tion"^. The two first, which are in a style 
'^ very different from the rest, were, it is well 
" known, written by that Fulvio of Savona, 
" who has composed other invectives, yet 
" more poignant, against the Spaniards. These 
" secretaries," he continues, alluding to the se- 
cretaries of the duke, " have also had the au- 
" dacity to attribute to me UEsequie della 
*' Reputazione di Spagna, although the style 
" bears no resemblance to mine, and though 
" they know that it issued from their office, 
'* and was the production of their friend the 
" Franciscan friar, who wrote it with another 
" view. But such is the unhappy fate of some 
" authors ; they are denied the credit of their 
" best works, while the bad productions of 
" other writers are ascribed to them. Rumour 
" and opinion tyrannise the world." Muratori 
seems at a loss to determine what opinion he 
should entertain of this solemn protestation : 
he inclines, however, to believe that, on this 
occasion, Tassoni, in some degree, sacrificed 

* These FilippichCf which are still in existence, might, per- 
haps, throw some light upon the part which the Venetians 
took in the war between the house of Savoy and the duke of 
Mantua, as " on dit que les Venetiens assisterent secretement le 
" due de Savoye pendant cette guerre." Mariana, Hist, d'Espag, 
tern, vi. Supp, p. 90. 


truth to interest*. " This, at least," says he, "is 
'^ certain, that he was a long time in disgrace 
" with the Spaniards, and even apprehensive of 
*^ some violence from them." This appears from 
a letter, dated from Turin in July 1620, ad- 
dressed to his friend Sassi. He laments the 
unpleasantness of his situation in the court of 
Turin, where the Spaniards were employing 
every mean to ruin his interest with the duke. 
He even foresaw, he says, that danger would 
attend his passing through the Milanese, which 
they occupied. And he adds, " If the serene 
** house of Savoy should be induced, by the 
" persuasions of Prince Filiberti, to reunite 
" itself with the Spaniards, 1 cannot hope 
" for its protection : but if it should persevere 
*^ in its alliance with France, all will be well." 
— But the machinations of his enemies proved 
too powerful for him. All his attempts to 
vindicate himself from the charges alleged 
against him, proved abortive. New difficul- 
ties were started in regard to his appoint- 
ment. And the promised audience was post- 
poned from day to day. Weary, at length, 
of the irksomeness of his situation, he retired 

* This seems also to be the opinion of M. Landi, torn, v, 
f* 239, 


to a venerable abbey near Saluzzo*, in which 
the Abate Scaglia presided. Here he re- 
mained two months, enjoying the rites of 
hospitahty, and indulging in the amusement 
of La Caccia, or the Chase f. 

But, as he was still a retainer of the court, 
a summons from the duke obliged him to 
abandon this delicious retreat. Paul V., thq 
proud and obstinate assertor of papal su- 

* Saluzzo, the ancient Augusta Vagiennorum, " est situee sur 
" la pente d'une coUine agreable, au sommet de laquelle est un 
" chateau : les Alpes s'elevent derriere elle ; le Pc) coule a pres 
" de deux lieues de ses raurs." Busching, Geog. torn. vii. 
p. 33. 

t With the nature of the chase, which amused the leisure of 
Tassoni, I am not acquainted. I should, however, rather sup- 
pose he was employed in pursuing the stag, or wild boar, than in 
hunting grashoppers, like the pope's legate and the prelates \n 
La Secchia Rapita, 

Poich' ebbero giucato un' ora e mezzo 
Levossi, e que' prelati a se chiamando 
Con gusto ando con lor cacciando un pezzo 
1 grilli, che per 1' erba ivan saltando. 

Cant. xii. st. 16. 

Some useful hints for an history of the private life of the Italians 
might be drawn from this poem. But Le Venti Giorn. dell' 
Agricoltura di M. Ag. Gallo, Ven. 1584, would be found a 
more abundant source of information on this subject ; especiallj 
in regard to field sports. 


premacy*, dying suddenly, the duke, on re- 
ceiving the intelhgence, (Jan. 31, 1621,) sent 
a peremptory order to Tassoni to join, with- 
out delay, his son the cardinal, who had, on 
this occasion, hastened to Rome; and accom- 
panied his order with a sum of one thousand 
ducatoni, or double ducats, to defray the ex- 
penses of his journey, and a promise of a 
further sum in Rome. Tassoni lost not a 
moment in obeying the commands of his 
patron; but, calling to mind the fate of Boc- 
calini, he thought it prudent to proceed, cir- 
cuitously, by the way of Genoa, in order to 
avoid the state of Milan, which was still 
occupied by his secret enemies, the Spaniards. 
On his way he learned that the Cardinal Lo- 
dovisio had been unexpectedly raised to the 
papal chair, under the title of Gregory XV., 
after the short deliberation of two days in 
the conclave. Although this event rendered 

* Paul, who was not less rapacious than proud, aggrandized 
his family by vexatious exactions; and, prompted by vanity, he 
raised splendid edifices to perpetuate his name. Hist, des 
Papes, torn. ii. p. 363 — 386. Amst. 1776. His villa at Fras- 
cati was remarkable for its hydraulic organs, and other water- 
works, which are now, I believe, mute and inactive. See Vast, 
Itin, di Roma, p. 770. 


haste, on his part, no longer necessary, he 
continued his journey with unabated speed, 
and, on his arrival in Rome, he waited imme- 
diately on the cardinal, who received him 
graciously, but was silent in regard to conti- 
nuing him in his service. This was matter of 
disappointment, if not of regret, to Tassoni ; 
for, after having hung loosely on the court of 
Savoy during a tedious term of years, he flat- 
tered himself he would, ultimately, be esta- 
blished, on a permanent footing, in the family 
of the cardinal. He now deemed it necessary 
to explain the instability and irksomeness of 
his situation in the court of Turin, to M. de 
Bethune^', the French ambassadour, who was 
well acquainted with the fame of his talents, 
and not ignorant of his partiality for the 
French nation. In return for the confidence 
reposed in him, the ambassadour informed 
Tassoni that the cardinal was appointed pro- 
tector of the French nation in Rome; and as 
the nomination of secretary to the protector- 

* Philipe de Bethune Avas brother to the celebrated duke 
of Sully, in whose Memoirs he is frequently mentioned. It is 
said by Moreri, that " il s*est acquis beaucoup de reputation 
" dans diverses ambassades, ayant fait admirer, dans toute sorte 
" d'occasions, la force de son esprit et la prudence de sa con- 
" duite." 


ship rested with the king, his master, he had 
named him to that office, and had taken the 
proper steps to have his nomination formally 
announced. But he did not find the prince 
cardinal equally friendly : expecting promo- 
tion through the influence of the Spanish 
court, he was unwilling to retain in his ser- 
vice a person so obnoxious to that court as 
Tassoni was known to be. Slighted by the 
cardinal, he was shunned by his retainers. 
Finding himself, therefore, almost a solitary 
being in the court of his master, he solicited 
permission to resign his office; a requisition 
which, it may be presumed, was freely and 
cheerfully granted. But the malice of his 
enemies was not yet satisfied. Having suf- 
fered scorn and neglect, he was now to endure 
persecution. On the elevation of Urban VIII. 
to the pontificate, the prince cardinal returned 
(1623) to Rome, after a short absence. After 
the treatment he had experienced, Tassoni did 
not think it incumbent on him to wait on the 
cardinal, and omitted, accordingly, the hollow 
ceremony of a visit. This gave off'ence to his 
eminence. To the enemies of Tassoni, who were 
ever on the watch, this seemed a favourable 
moment to complete his ruin with the car- 
dinal. They, accordingly, invented and sedu- 


Jously propagated a malicious tale, which 
wanted even the semblance of probability to 
support it. They said that he had calculated 
the nativity of the cardinal*, and pronounced 
that he would be an hypocrite, — a discovery 
which, however, it is not unlikely he had 
made without the assistance of the stars. As 
the most improbable tale will find credit 
with those whose minds are predisposed to 
receive it, the cardinal yielded, or affected to 
yield, faith to the malicious charge. Tassoni 
asserted his innocence, and offered to vindicate 
himself to the satisfaction of the cardinal, and 
to the confusion of his enemies f. Nor were 

* M. de Cahors erroneously asserts, that it was the horoscope 
of Urban that Tassoni made. See Le Seau Enl. pref. p. 8. 

t Without meaning to question the veracity of Tassoni on this 
occasion, I think it incumbent on me to observe, that Muratori 
acknowledges that he sometimes dabbled in judicial astrology, 
and esteemed it an art " non affatto inutile e vana." Princes, 
says he, discourage the study of this art, " perche loro non 
" torna molto a conto, che si sappiano le cose avvenire.'* 
Henry IV. of France, however, was not of this opinion ; for, 
a few years before the period under review, he employed his 
physician, La Riviere, to calculate the nativity of the dauphin. 
Sully apologises for this weakness in his amiable sovereign, by at- 
tributing it to tenderness for his son, that filled him with an 
eagerness to know his fate. Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 99. Dub. 1781. 
Tassoni could have had no motive for consulting the stars con- 
cerning the cardinal, as he must have felt the most perfect 

142 MExMOlRS OF 

the kind offices of the French ambassadour 
wanting on this occasion. But all attempts 
to undeceive the cardinal, or to appease his 
real, or affected wrath, were fruitless. He 
was inexorable. " To hate whom we have 
" injured," says Tacitus, " is a propensity of 
" the human mind*." If this remark should 
not apply to the cardinal, it may perhaps be 
said, that he wished to avail himself of the 
present opportunity to get rid of Tassoni. 
But, whether his resentment was real or as- 
sumed, he determined to punish his discarded 
secretary. He accordingly waited on Cardinal 
Barberini, the pope's nephew, and after stating 
to him, in aggravated colours, his charge against 
Tassoni, demanded his immediate banishment 
from Rome. Fortunately at this time Tassoni 
was invited to attend the chase of Sezza {la 
caccia di Sezza-y)^ and he gladly accepted the 
invitation. During his absence, the wrath of 

indifference in regard to the fate of a man who had not only 
treated him extremely ill, but had dismissed him from his 

* Propriura humani ingenii est, odisse quem Iseseris. Jul, 
Agric. Vita, 

t As the term caccia applies to birds as well as quadrupeds, I 
am at a loss to determine the species of field sport which is to be 
understood by la caccia di Sezza. When a distinction, however, 
is intended, fowling is usually expressed by the word uccellagione. 


the cardinal became softened or appeased, and 
be consented to his return to Rome after a 
stay of ten days at Sezza=^\ Here terminated 
Tassoni's unfortunate connexion with the house 
of Savoy. He, however, thought it necessary 
to prepare a manifesto, containing a vindica- 
tion of his conduct and character from the ca- 
lumnies of his enemies during his connexion 
with that house. This document is still exist- 
ing in his own hand-writing : but Muratori 
does not think it should be allowed to meet 
the public eye, lest it should give offence to, 
or wound the delicacy of, the descendants of 
some of the noble personages mentioned in it, 
for SI delicate, he sarcastically remarks, son le 
fibre dei grandif che se non h assai soave il suono, 
facilmente se ne risentono. 

Although it does not appear that the Cardinal 
Barberini openly protected Tassoni on the oc- 
casion which has just been mentioned, it is pro- 
bable that he secretly befriended him: and 
although the dedication to the second edition. 
of La Secchia Rapita to the cardinal expresses 

* Sezza is a little town standing on an eminence opposite to 
the Pontine marshes. At the entrance remain the ruins of a 
temple dedicated to Saturn. To a poet, the neighbourhood of 
this town must have powerful attractions ; for " pres d'elle," sajs 
Busching, " €3t I'agreable mont de3 Muses." Tom, vii. p. 444. 


no particular obligation, it may, perhaps, be 
considered as an effusion of the poet's grati- 
tude, delicately offered by his friend Preti^', 
as a tribute of that generous sentiment, under 
the name of the printer. It is well known, 
however, that to genius the cardinal was ever 
liberal and kind. Testi, who had experi- 
enced his munificence, praises it in a sonnet 

Tien fortuna nel crine, e d' ostro ardente, &c. 

And to his brother Francesco, a cardinal also, 
and the guardian of the English in Rome, 
Milton acknowledges obligations f. In a 
court where such men had influence, it is 
not probable that Tassoni would have been 
allowed, — at least for any length of time, — 
to suffer unmerited persecution. In Urban, 
too, he had a secret, if not an open friend. 
His holiness had read and admired La Secchia 
Rapita, and, as has been already observed, 

* Ap. Zeno supposes that this dedication was written by the 
author's friend, Girolamo Preti, (see Bib. della Eloq. Ital. torn. i. 
p. 292,) but he does not state the grounds of his conjecture. 

t For some interesting notices respecting the cardinals men- 
tioned in the text, and the Barberini family in general, consult 
the Rev. H, J. Todd's last edition of Milton's Poetical Works, 
Lond. 1808, unquestionably one of the most complete editions of 
any Britbb classic that has yet appeared. 


had even suggested some alterations. But I 
cannot find that he particularly patronised the 
author. This, perhaps, is not to be wondered 
at, if, as Galileo insinuates, Urban was better 
pleased with poetical toys than with the 
nobler efforts of genius. " When I was cited 
*' to Rome by the Holy Office," says Galileo 
in a letter to his friend Renieri, ** Urban took 
" me under his protection, although I was not 
*' skilled in writing epigrams, or amorous 
*' sonnets." Urban, however, had taste and 
liberality enough to admire Buchanan's Para- 
phrase of the Psalms, *' although," says Sir 
John Denham, " it was written by so great a 
" heretic*." His admiration of the poetry of 
Lope de Vega evinced less purity of taste, — = 
but Lope had conciliated his favour b}'^ dedi- 
cating to him his Corona Tragica, a poem 
replete with virulent abuse of our Queen 

* Pref. to a Version of the Psalms, Land, 1714, quoted by 
Dr. Irving in his interesting Mem. of Buchanan, Edinb. 1807, 
p. 131. Urban's approbation of the Paraphrase of Buchanan is 
the more to be admired, as he had himself, in his youth, struck, 
with an adventurous hand, the harp of Sion. See Maphm S. R. E. 
Card. Barberini Poemata. Oxon. 1726. 

t Lord Holland, Life of Lope de Vega. Lond. 1806, 
p. 64 — 88. The dedication to the Corona Tragica must have 
gratified Urban, as a bigot ; but, it is probable, that, as a poet, 


Girolamo Preti, who seems to have enjoyed 
the friendship of our author, and who, on the 
occasion to which we have just alluded, is sup- 
posed to have employed his pen in his service, 
was born in Bologna. At an early age he was 
sent to the splendid court of the reigning duke 
of Ferrara, Alfonso II., who, kindly dispensing 
with his regular attendance, allowed him to 
pursue his studies under some of the celebrated 
professors in that city. But, called by the 
voice of nature, he soon quitted Ferrara. His 
father, a knight of Santo Stefano, was then 
cavallerizzo, or master of the horse, to the 
prince of Melfi, of Genoa. Anxious to have 
his son near his person, and immediately under 
his eye, he solicited and obtained a situation 
for him in the court of his patron. And 
wisely resolving to direct the studies of his 
son to some particular object, he determined 
on the civil law. But Girolamo had tasted 
of the pleasures of a court, and had become 
enamoured of the seducing charms of the 
muses. Finding him, after a short trial, averse 

he was not less gratified by the gift of a copy of the Petrarcha 
Redivivus, which the author presented to his holiness as a 
descendant of the Tuscan bard. It does not,, however, appear 
that the lyre of Petrarca descended, as an heir-loom, in the fw- 
Huly of Urban, 


from the dry study of the law, the fond 
parent permitted him to relinquish the lu- 
crative pursuit to which he had destined him, 
for the " idle trade" of a'fcourtier. Elegant in 
his manners, graceful in his person, and gifted 
with brilliant talents, which he had highly cul- 
tivated, he grew into favour amongst the great, 
and lived on their smiles. When La Secchia 
Rapita appeared, he had passed fifteen years 
in the Italian courts. This circumstance is 
mentioned by the author, who, at the same 
time, insinuates, that he was no less a fop in 
dress, than, as his writings show, he was in 

Girolamo Preti 

Poeta degno d' immortali onori, 
Che quindici anni in corte avea servito 
Nel tempo, che puzzar soleano i fiori. 
Col coUare a lattughe era vestito, 
Tutto di seta e d' or di piu colon. 

Cant. xii. st. 8. 

Although the life which he led was gay, it 
does not appear to have been prosperous; or, 
perhaps, heing, like his friend Tassoni, of a 
sanguine disposition, he formed hopes which 
were not realized, and he became querulous. 
In one sonnet, SiduoledellaFortuna; in another 


he expresses a wish andar' alia guerra; and in 
another, vivendo in corte desidera la quiete. Rest- 
less and dissatisfied, he at length accepted 
an invitation from the Cardinal Francesco 
Barberino to attend him on his embassy to 
Spain, and departed from his native country, 
never to return. Of a delicate constitution, 
or, it may be, unused to the rough element to 
which he now, for the first time, committed 
himself, he sickened on the passage, and died 
at Barcelona on the 26th of April, 1626. 

As a poet, Preti holds a distinguished rank 
amongst the disciples of the new school; 
although he may not, as Tassoni asserts, be 
'' worthy of immortal honors." In his idylHum 
of Salmace, the most admired of his produc- 
tions, there is so much to praise, and so much 
to blame, it occasioned a warm contest amongst 
the critics of his age. His other pieces, which 
assume the various forms of sonetti, canzoni, 
and ballate, partake too much of the style then 
in fashion. Indeed it is justly observed by 
Crescimbeni, that Preti " allontanossi affatto 
" dalla scuola delPetrarca; e non contento de* 
" fiori, che aveva in questi tempi sparsi il 
'^ Marini in tanta abbondanza sopra il cadavero 
*' di quella, v' aggiunse un soverchio uso di 


'* traslati, arguzie, ed altre simili facende*." 
These remarks on the poetry of Preti will 
apply to that of his age in general, and may 
serve to justify the harsh censure which Tas- 

soni, in his letter to Signor N , passes on 

the poets who had recently treated, in the epic 
form, the noble subject of the discovery of the 
western world f. 

Soon after he had quitted the service of the 
<;ardinal of Savoy, Muratori, following the 
voice of tradition, traces Tassoni, in the ca- 
pacity of secretary, accompanying (1623) 
D. Orazio Lodovisio, duke of Fiano, to the 
Valteline, while still reeking with the blood 
of the massacred protestants, in order to take 
possession, as general of the church, of the 
forts which were resigned by the French into 
the hands of the pope, in consequence of the 
treaty concluded between that nation and the 
Spaniards. In placing this event under the 
year 1623, I have followed Muratori; but I 
am inclined to think that it should be referred 
to a later period. The treaty by which the 
forts were agreed to be delivered up to the 

* Tom. ii. 2^. 488. 

t Of Stigliani, one of the poets to whom Tassoni alludes, 
Crescimbeni observes, " Seguace della nuova scuola, ed emulo 
" infelicissimo del Marini." Tom, ii. p. 488. 

150 MEMOmS OF 

pope, was not concluded until 1626*. And 
in that year we shall find Tassoni in the ser- 
vice of the Cardinal Lodovisio. Muratori, how- 
ever, may allude to some previous expedition 
with which I am unacquainted. Yet, he says, 
the duke went per mett ere fine alia guerra insorta 
a cagiori di quella Provincial which would cer- 
tainly seem to refer to the execution of the 
conditions of the treaty. But I bow to the 
authority of the venerable antiquary. It is, at 
least, certain, that Tassoni accompanied the 
duke of Fiano to the Valteline, either during, 
or at the termination of, the cruel war which 
spread desolation through that once happy 
valley; and it is presumed that he availed 
himself of the opportunity which that expe- 
dition afforded him, to collect materials for 
Due Libri del I a Guerra del I a Faltellina" 
ascribed to him by Allacci in his Apes Ur- 
hancE. To this work he subjoined an hu- 
morous description, in verse, of his journey 
from the Valteline to Rome, written, pro- 
bably, in imitation of the fifth satire of the 
first book of Horace. 

I should, I will confess, be sorry to suppose 
that Tassoni defended, even upon political 

* Coxe, Trav. in Switzerland, ml. iii, p. 106. 


grounds, the massacre in the Valteline. It is 
probable, however, we shall never know in 
what manner he treated the subject, as his 
history is either lost, or sleeping profoundly 
in some Italian library. Indeed doubts have 
been entertained of the correctness of Allacci's 
information. Its truth, however, was not de- 
nied by Tassoni, who was still in being when 
the Apes UrbancB appeared ; but he was, per- 
haps, prompted by prudence to withhold the 
work from the press, or even to acknow- 
ledge it publicly. Allacci insinuates the pro- 
bability of its having been destroyed. Having 
enumerated it with the other productions of 
Tassoni, he adds, Nescio an ahsolvit. This 
record of a work which has escaped the re- 
searches even of the indefatigable Muratori, 
is not the only obligation which the biographer 
of Tassoni has to Allacci : he also informs us, 
and from him alone the information is derived, 
that amongst the inedited manuscripts left by 
Tassoni, was " un volume di Lettere diverse, 
" apud Heredes Cardinalis Estensis*." In 

* It is to be feared that this precious volume is lost : it cer- 
tainly eluded the researches of Muratori. " Eredi de' libri del 
** Cardinale Alessandro d' Este,'' says he, " furono i padri 
" Teatini di Modena ; ma nella lor libreria non si truova quest* 
" volume, o se vi fu una volta, avra poi fatte 1' ali." P. 90. 


fact, he seems to have sought eagerly after 
all the effusions of Tassoni's pen, and to have 
been one of the first to announce their ap- 
pearance from the press. The Pemieri had 
only just met the light, vs'hen he procured a 
copy through the friendship of Nauda?us. 
Soon after an eulogium appeared in the Apes 
TJrbance, on this work, in which the author 
makes an happy allusion to the portrait of 
Phidias which was concealed in the buckler 
of Minerva; and which, on its discovery, ex- 
cited so much admiration for the accuracy of 
the resemblance and the excellence of the 
workmanship. Having recited the title, he 
adds, Deinde alibi passim varijs locis, in quihus 
opus illud egregium, et 'varium, tanquam Phidicz 
simulacrum simul aspectum, et probatmn fuit. 
On Naudaeus*, who procured for him this 

* Gabriel Naude was bora at Paris in 1600. Early ad- 
dicted to letters, he made great progress in the sciences. Partial 
to medicine, he retired to Padua, and devoted his whole time to 
that study. Recommended by his bibliographical knowledge to 
Cardinal Bagni, he appointed him his librarian. And his me- 
dical skill obtained for him, soon after, the honourable and lu- 
crative situation of physician to Louis XIII. Becoming after- 
wards a favourite with Cardinal Mazarin, he was intrusted with 
the care of his magnificent library, which increased rapidly under 
his superintendence. His fame having spread to the black re- 
gions of the north. Queen Christina invited him to her court. 


precious volume, and who frequently minis- 
tered to his literary cravings, he bestows the 
epithet of librorum heluo ; — an epithet which, 
it will appear from the following brief me- 
moir, would, perhaps, with equal, if not greater 
propriety, apply to himself. 

Leone Allacci, the rival of Magliabecchi in 
bibliographical knowledge, was born in the 
island of Chios. In his ninth year he was 
brought by his parents to Calabria, and never 
afterwards revisited his native isle. He re- 
ceived his education in the Greek college at 
Rome, where he cultivated, with great suc- 
cess, the belles lettres, and the study of 
theology. Gregory XV. employed him to 
assist in conveying the famous Palatine li- 
brary to Rome*. He was afterwards pa- 

Here his health, impaired by the rigour of the climate, soon 
began to decline ; and he thought it prudent, after a short stay, 
to hasten home. On reaching France, he retired to Abbeville, 
where he died at the age of fifty-three. — Naude illustrated the 
history of Louis XI., published a dialogue entitled Mascurat, and 
other works : but " de tous ses livres," says Voltaire, " son 
" Apolflgie des grands-hommes accusts de Magie, est presque le 
** seul qui soit demeure." His instructions concerning erecting a 
library were translated by Evelyn, 8vo. 1661. 

* As Gregory did not live to receive these literary treasures at 
the hands of his agent, the secret enemies ot Allacci, considering 
him then as unprotected, gratified their malignity in accusing hire 

154 MEMOIRS or 

tronised by the Barberini family. And 
Alexander VII. appointed him librarian to 
the Vatican ; an office which he filled at the 
time of his death, an event that occurred in 
1668, and in the eighty-third year of his age. 
His publications are numerous; indeed, almost 
innumerable. Of these, the Drammaturgiaj and 
the j4pes Urhana, are the most esteemed. Al- 
lacci was not more remarkable for the fe- 
cundity of his genius, and the depth of his 
learning and researches, than for the ve- 
locity of his pen. Tiraboschi relates, that he 
transcribed, in a single night, the Diarium 
Romanorum rontificum, (a ponderous tome,) 
which had been lent him by Recanti one 
day, on the condition of liis returning it the 

Admitting the possibility of an error in the 
date of the year to which Muratori refers the 
expedition of the duke of Fiano, w^e shall 
return to the period of Tassoni's happy re- 
lease from the service of the court of Turin. 

of appropriating to his own use, some of the " migliori codici." 
From this groundless and malicious charge he vindicated him- 
self in a letter to his friend Naude, which may be found in the 
second edition of the Naudeana, p. 2 — 135. Fontanini observes, 
that " degna di esser letta e la relazione a penna dell' Allacci 
" sopra tal suo viaggio," Tom. ii. p. 132. 


Here his active life ceases for a while, and we 
are now^ to view him 

In the clear, still mirror of retreat. 

Amidst all the sinister events, and all the ca- 
prices of fortune, which we have related, " the 
" purity of Tassoni's moral character," says Mu- 
ratori, *' remained unsullied, and his Hterary 
" reputation unimpaired." Weary, however, of 
the inconstancy of the world, and disgusted 
with the wiles and vices of the Italian courts, 
he sighed after retirement and the luxury of 
" lettered ease*." With a view to the enjoy- 
ment of both, he took an house with a garden, 
vineyard, and pleasure grounds, near the pa- 
lazzo de' Riari alia Longara, in Rome. Here, 
he lived in philosophic seclusion, dividing his 
time between his garden and his books. He 
took particular pleasure, it appears, in the 
cultivation of flowers, of which he boasts, in a 
letter to a friend, that he had an hundred dif- 
ferent kinds ; and in order to strengthen his 
body, he occasionally employed himself in 
digging the earth. This mode of life was 

* Chiaritosi egli nondiraeno dell' incostanza del mondo, e a 
quanti veiiti sottoposte le corti, penso da li innanzx di vivere a 
se stesso, &c. P. 70. Tliese are the motives assigned by Muratori 
for Tassoni's retirement. 


not new to him, and would seem to have been 
that which was most congenial to his natural 
disposition. In a letter to his friend, the 
Canonico Sassi, written (16 16) seven years be- 
fore the period of his life at which we are now 
arrived, he says, " To Livio, the servant of 
" Count Alfonso, who left this place on Mon- 
" day last, I gave a pair of gloves for you; 
*' and I have sent you by the Canonico An- 
*' tonio Bulugola, a pair of wooden shoes, 
" which are, it is true, not exactly to my 
" mind, but I have no better to send. Now 
" you will have both your hands and your 
" feet clad anew ; so that you will appear in 
" your garden a fine gentleman. If you wish 
" to have a pruning knife {ronchietto'^) to dress 
" your vines, please to say so, that I may 
*' avail myself of the first opportunity to send 
" you one. I have one for my own use, and 
" I pass all the morning in my garden, digging 
" and pruning. Thus occupied, I seem Fa- 
" bricius awaiting the dictatorship." Some- 
times he varied his rural amusements with 
field sports. Thrushes were his favourite game ; 

* The ronchietto was a smaller kind of ronclionCf an instru- 
ment answering to our bill-hook. See Le Vent. Giorn, deW 
Agricol. di M. A, Gallo. Ven. 1584. 


and when these birds were in season, he re- 
gularly procured from Modena a supply of 
the best powder for his archibugio, or ar- 

Tassoni seemed so perfectly happy in the 
philosophic quiet which he now enjoyed, that 
it might be presumed he could not be induced 
to abandon it by any allurement which the 
world (in the common acceptation of the 
word) could hold out. But there is often a 
" craving void," in the disencumbered breast 
of a statesman released from the cares of 
office, that gradually renders even volun-^ 
tary retirement irksome, and ultimately 

* I have preserved the original word in the text, in order to 
show the kind of fowh'ng-piece in use in Italy in the ITth cen- 
tury. It is thus described by Chambers : " Arquebuss, or har- 
** quebuss, a large hand-gun, something bigger than our musquet, 
*' and usually cocked with a wheel : by some it is called a 
** caliever. The word is derived from the Italian archibugio, 
" or arcobusio, fornied of arco a bow, and busio a hole ; because 
** of the touch-hole of an arquebuss, which succeeds to the use 
" of the bow among the ancients." Cyclop, art. Arqueb. The 
harquebuss was probably of oriental origin, and brought to Italy 
by some of the Genoese or Venetians who settled at Constan- 
tinople. A French traveller, who visited Damascus in 1432, saw, 
in a procession, some men bearing small harquebuses. See Trav^ 
of La Brocquiere. Trans, by Thomas Johnes^ Esq. Hafod, 1807, 
p. 131. 


produces the mental malady denominated 

" Tant" says Voltaire, " Vesprit humain a 
" de peine a se detacher des affaires, quand une 
" fois elks ont servi d'aliment a son inquietude." 
This was probably the case with Tassoni ; for 
he had not resided quite three years in his 
villa, when he listened (1626) to a flattering 
proposal from Cardinal Lodovisio, nephew of 
Gregory XV., archbishop of Bologna, cham- 
berlain, and afterwards vice-chancellor, of the 
ho'y see. The cardinal offered him an ap- 
pointment in his service, with an annual 
salary of four hundred Roman crowns, and 
apartments in his palace in Bologna. To 
this proposal Tassoni cheerfully acceded ; and 
he continued in the service of the cardinal 
until the 18th of November, 1632, the day 
on which his patron died. 

Of the period of Tassoni's life passed in the 
service of the Cardinal Lodovisio, no parti- 
culars of any importance are related. Nor 
do his biographers acquaint us with the do- 

* Cowper, in the poem of Retirement, treats this subject with 
his usual good sense ; and Boccalini, in Bagg. di Parnaso, 
cent, ii. ragg, 59, handles it with his accustomed humour. 


mestic habits of his patron. We are only- 
told that the cardinal prevailed on Tassoni 
to give him a copy of the humorous descrip- 
tion of his journey from the Valteline to 
Rome, which has already been mentioned. 
In the perusal of this poem his eminence 
used frequently to indulge; and he would, 
it is said, laugh immoderately* at the wit 
and humour with which it abounded, although 
his father was one of the objects of the author's 
ridicule. At length he committed it to the 
flames, "lest," says Muratori, " posterity should 
" enjoy a laugh at the expense of his family." 
Unfortunately no copy was preserved. 

Whatever the official avocations of Tassoni 
in the court of his patron may have been, his 
time, it would seem, passed gayly. This may 
be inferreid from a letter to his friend Pa- 
ganino Gaudenzio, dated from Bologna the 
24th October, 1628, in which, however, he 
draws a picture of that city that is by no 
means flattering. " We pass our time here 
" in Bologna," says he, " like so many pri^ 

* " Si sganasciava del ridere," is Muratori's strong ex- 
pression, — an expression which conveys an idea of Milton's 
Uvely picture of 

Laughter holding both his sides. 


" soners escaped from the gallies, although 
" we have had a scarcity of every thing this 
" year, except sage doctors, and lean poultry. 
" The doctors perambulate the streets in flocks, 
" like sheep; and the poultry are cheap, hut 
<* they have the pip {la pipita), and are con- 
" sequently so thin, they would serve for 
** lanterns," &c. 

The protection extended to Tassoni is not 
the only instance recorded of the Cardinal 
Lodovisio's regard for men of talents. It was 
at his invitation that Marino returned (1622) 
to Italy, after quitting the service of the un- 
fortunate Maria de Medici, queen of France, 
who had been driven into exile by the ma- 
chinations of Cardinal Richelieu. Marino 
was immediately succeeded in his service by 
Tassoni. During the reign of his uncle, 
Gregory XV., the cardinal held regular li- 
terary meetings at his palace, to which all 
men of genius, who resided in, or happened to 
visit Rome, were invited. These meetings 
were frequently honoured with the presence 
of the pope, who thus promoted literature 
and the elegant arts by his countenance, while 
be was enabled, from personal observation, to 
select proper objects for the exercise of his 
munificence. If Gregory does not adorn, he 


cannot be said to disgrace, the period in which 
he flourished. His pontificate was short, but 
not inactive. He assisted in terminating the 
differences which arose amongst the powers 
leagued against the house of Austria; he 
founded the congregation " De Propaganda 
" Fide*;" and he enriched the hbrary of the 
Vatican with the famous collection of the pa- 
latine of Heidclbergf. Nor should it be 
forgotten, that, while he was cardinal, he em- 
ployed the united powers of Domenichino, 
Zuccari, and Guercino, to embellish the villa 

• The magnificent edifice built for the reception of this con- 
gregation, was commenced by Gregory, and continued by 
Urban VIII. after a design by Betnini. The facade and the 
church were completed under the pontificate of Alessandro VII. 
by Borromini. Youth from distant parts of the earth, parti- 
cularly from Asia and Africa, are invited to this college, where 
they are instructed in the principles of the Christian religion ; and 
after remaining a stated time, and passing through a certain 
course of study, they are sent back to their respective countries 
In order to propagate the Gospel amongst their unenlightened, 
countr^'men. In this college there is a noble library, and above 
forty fonts of types of the alphabets of different languages and 
dialects, — particularly of those of the East. 

t See Hist, des Papes. Amst. 1776. torn. ii. p. 388. 

X This villa is still attractive even in decay, from the circumstance 
of its possessing the famous group of Foetus and Arria, and the 


At this time Francis I. was the reigning 
sovereififn of Modena. Francis was one of the 
most amiable and most accomplished princes 
of his age, and a munificent patron of letters 
and the elegant arts*. Soon as he learned 
that Tassoni's engagements had ceased with 
the death of the Cardinal Lodovisio, he in- 
vited him to his court, and appointed him, 
with a liberal salary, one of his gentlemen in 
waiting, and, at the same time, nominated him 
a member of his council. Delighted at the 
prospect of a permanent establishment in his 
native city, to which he had made a visit 
of affection in the preceding month of May, 
he hastened the preparations for his departure 
from Bologna; and about the close of the year 
(l632) he returned to Modena, and entered 
immediately on the duties of his office. 

Although Tassoni, in some splenetic mo- 
ment, had made Modena the subject of a 

Aurora of Guercino* The protection which Gregory extended to 
Guercino during his cardinalate, must endear his memory to the 
lovers of the fine arts. 

* *' Fioriva in que' tempi Franceso I. duca di Modena, prin- 
" cipe allora giovane, ma che gareggiava coi piu vecchi nelle 
"virtu, nel senno, e nello studio di tutto cid, che puo far 
" distinguere, e lodare un ^vrano." Muratori, p. 70. 


satirical sonnet*, and in La Secchia Rapita 
has denominated it a " citta fetentef," lie was 

* I allude to the following 


Modana e una citta di Lombardia 

Che nel pantau mezza sepolta siede ; 

Ove si suol smerdar da capo a piede 
Chi s' imbatte a passar pel quella via. 

Scrisse un antico autor, che quivi pria 

Fu de le rane gia 1' antica sede ; 

E ch' una vecehia al luogo il nome diede^ 
Modana detta, che vi fea osteria. 

Non ha laghi vicin, selves ne montij 
Lontana al fiume, e piu lontana al mare ; 
E dentro vi si va per quattro ponti. 

Ha, fra 1' altre una cosa singolare, 
Che Zappando il terren nascono fonti, 
Si che per sete non si puo pigliare. 

Ha una torre, che pare 
till palo capo volti ; e le contrate 
Corron di fango, e merda a mezz' estate ; 

Buje, ed aiFumicate 
Con portici di leguo in su i balestri, 
E cattapecchie, e canalette, e destii ; 

E su i canti maestri 
E ai flanchi de le porte in ogni parte 
Masse di stabbio vecchio mculte e sparte ; 

E in im buco in disparte 
II Potta suo, ch' ogni altra cosa eccede, 
E tanto piccolin, che non si vede. 

t CanU ii. st. 66. 


ever partial to that city*; and he seemed, as 
we have just observed, to hail with a joyful 
heart the invitation which restored him, in 
declining life, to his natal soil: — perhaps, like 
his contemporary Waller, he felt that " he 
" should be glad, like the stag, to die where 
" he had been roused." But if he vilified 
the gloomy aspect and subterraneous water of 
Modena, and the insalubrious marshes with 
which that city is surrounded, he praised the 
mild climate, pastoral beauties, and delicious 
wine of Sassola, the favourite rural residence 
of the court to which he was now to belons^. 
Nor is it a vague conjecture to suppose, that 
he indulged the pleasing hope of closing the 
evening of his days in the embowering shades 
of that charming retreat, which he thus fondly 
commemorates in cant. iii. 5^. 47, of Xa Secchia 
Jtapita, — the descriptive passage alluded to 
above : 

Ma dove lascio di Sassol la gente, 

Che suol de 1' uve far nettare a Giove : 
La dove e il di piu bello e piu lucente. 
La dove il ciel tutte le grazie piove ? 

* In a letter to the Canonico Sassi, dated from Rome in leO-i, Ta^- 
soni says, " Vorrei avere comodita di potere star in Modena • 
'■ ma vorrei, che Modena fosse in altro sito piu ^alubre almen 
" per la state." 


Quella terra d' amor, di gloria ardente, 
jNIadre di cio, ch' e piu pregiato altrove, 
JMando, &c. 

Why should the muse forget Sassola's hill. 
Where nectar fit for Jove the grapes distill ; 
W^here day with brighter beams the clouds divides, 
And heaven her blessings pours in copious tides ? 
The land of love, the glorious nurse of arms, 
AVIiere all the choicest gifts, and nature's charms. 
Are found combin'd, dispatch'd, &c.* 


On his arrival in Modena, Tassoni was happy 
to find that his friend Girolamo Graziano had 
obtained a situation in the same court. Gi- 
rolamo was a young man of very superior 
talents. When he was only twenty-seven years 
of age, he published his poem of Cleopatra, 
with a dedication to the duke his master. This 
poem was so much applauded, that Tassoni 
urged him to undertake another on the Con- 
quest of Granada, a noble subject for the epic 
muse. In this new attempt he also succeeded 
happily. " Lfl Coiiqiiista di Granata" says 
Muratori, " is esteemed one of the best 
" poems in the Itahan language f. While 

* Sassola is minutely described by De la Lande. Voy. en 
ltd. torn. ii. p. 208 — 210. See also Hist. Mem. on ltd. Trag. 
p. 158. 

t This poem first appeared in Modena, 1650. It was since 
reprinted in Venice, under the direction of the Abbate Rubbi, 

166 MEMOIRS or 

Tassoni was thus emplo^^ed in promoting ele- 
gant literature, he was not inattentive to the 
duties of charity. He forwarded the pious 
and noble plans of Count Paolo Boschetti, 
founder of the Collegio de' Nobili, and of the 
schools of S. Carlo, and occasionally performed 
other acts of benevolence. 

In 1634 died Lucrezio Tassoni, and be- 
queathed to the subject of these memoirs, 
part of his property, and the house in which 
he had resided in the parish of S. Maria della 
Pomposa; the abode, in the time of Muratori, 
of the Count Giulo Cesare Tassoni. But it 
was not the will of Heaven that the legatee 
should long enjoy this accession of property. 

While exercising acts of benevolence, and 
indulging his taste, Tassoni continued to serve 

who, with all the partiality of au editor, expatiates on the beauties 
of the poem. Beauties it certainly can boast ; but the fable is 
not well conducted, and, in the opinion of an Italian friend, the 
style " non e epico, ma lirico. Forse,'* he continues, " questa 
*f ultiraa qualita e una delle ragioni, per cui Fulvio Testi avra 
" lodato questa poem." In the poem of Testi, to which my friend 
alludes, Graziani is made " to take the wall" of Tasso : 

Gia, par, che il pio Buglion T alta ventura 
De la tua penna al gran Fernando invidi, 
Mentre a Gierusalem gl' applausi, e i gridi 
Nel Teatro Toscan Granata oscura. 

Al. Sig. Gir. GrazianL 


his natural sovereign with zeal and fidelity. 
And as he had returned to Modena with a 
vigorous frame of body, and an unimpaired 
constitution, it was presumed his life would, 
or might be, considerably prolonged. But 
twelve months from the date of his appoint- 
ment had not elapsed, when his health began 
to decline ; and towards the end of the year 
1634, and the beginning of the following 
year, he was chiefly confined to his bed. His 
infirmity increasing rapidly, he deceased on 
the 25th of April, 1635, in the seventy-first 
year of his age. His body was honourably 
interred in the church of S. Pietro de' monaci 
Benedettini, in the sepulchre of the Tassoni 
family, opposite the altar of S. Pietro and 
S. Paolo, near the sacristy; but no memorial 
or inscription marks the spot where the ashes 
of so celebrated a literary character repqse. 
" This omission," says his biographer, " was 
" inexcusable in his heirs, to whom he left 
^' a considerable property, and ungrateful in 
'^ his family, who had acquired celebrity from 
^' the splendour of his talents." But his inva- 
riable friend, the Canonico Annibale Sassi*, 

* As the kind and invariable friend of Tassoni through the 
greater part of his life, I should gladly have preserved some bio- 
graphical notices of the Canonico Annibale Sassi ; but the only 


although not urged or impelled by the sense 
of duty which should have actuated his re- 
latives on this occasion, prepared an inscrip- 
tion to his memory, and had it engraved 
upon a marble slab, which is still in the pos- 
session of the Count Alfonso Sassi : but, as it 
was composed in the turgid style which pre^ 
vailed at that time, it has been wisely with- 
held from public view. 

After the death of Tassoni, three wills, made 
at different periods of his life, were found 
amongst his papers. Two of these are re- 
plete with humour. The first, which is dated 
in 1612, runs thus: "I, Alessandro Tassoni, 
" of Modena, by the grace of God sound in 
^' body and in mind, except, perhaps, the com- 
" mon fever of human ambition caused by the 
" desire of living after death*. Do, by these 
^^ presents, declare my last will, which is the 
'* ultimate comfort granted us to mitigate the 

circumstance in his personal history which I can find recorded, is, 
that the odour of roses so affected him, as to excite a bleeding of 
his nose. This circumstance is mentioned by Tassoni in his Pen," 
sieri. Lib, i. 14. See, also, The Plants, a poem, by William 
Tighe, Esq. p. 60. Lond. 1808. 
* Milton calls the love of fame, 

** That last infirmity of noble minds. 

Lycidas, Z. 71. 


" bitterness of so great a loss as that of life: 

" First, I bequeath my soul, which is the most 

" valuable thing I possess, to Him by whom it 

" was created, the invisible, ineffable, and 

" eternal first Cause. My body, as an offen- 

*^ sive thing (cosafetente^), I would willingly 

" order to be burnt; but as that would be 

" contrary to the rites of the religion in which 

" I was born, I entreat the proprietor of the 

" house in which I may happen to die, (if I 

" should not, as is possible, have one myself); 

" or if I should die beneath the common roof, 

" namely, the sky, I beg of the neighbours, or 

" of my friends, to have it (his body) interred 

" in some holy place. And I hereby declare it 

" to be my intention, that there should be 

" no expense incurred at my funeral, but a 

" shroud, and a coffin, in which my body may 

*^ be conveyed at night, attended only by one 

" priest, with a crucifix and a single candle. 
*' Nevertheless, in this I submit to the piety 

" and kind intentions of my relatives, or 

" friends, and the executors of this my last 
^* will and testament." He then adds : " To 

* In the Will of Sir Lewis ClifFord, dated in 1404, I find 
the expression of " stynkyng careyne," which is equivalent to 
the one which I have softened in the text. 


*' the church in which I may be buried 1 
*' bequeath twelve golden crowns, as a free 
" gift, without imposing any obligation ; for 
" it does not appear to me that so small a 
" donation merits a return, particularly as 1 
'^ leave nothing which it would be in my 
" power to take away." He next bequeaths 
" to a certain Marzio, esteemed my natural 
" son by one Lucia Grafagnina, and by her 
'^ declared to be so, one hundred crowns in 
" carlini, in order that he may honourably dis- 
" charge his tavern engagements." Although 
hedoes notdeny thathehad had an intrigue with 
Lucia Grafignina, he seems to doubt whether 
Marzio was really his child : he would not 
admit that he bore any resemblance to him in 
person, in disposition, or in manners. In his 
letters to his friend, the Canonico Annibale 
Sassi, he describes him as a profligate young 
man ; and relates, that having once invited 
him to Rome, and procured him a good situa- 
tion, he one day took advantage of his absence, 
and entering his house secretly, broke open his 
trunks and drawers, and carried away all the 
money, plate, and clothes, he could find. We 
shall, however, find him changing his opinion, 
pf this young man. — Besides the legacies 


we have enumerated, he left to his friend, 
Alessandro Grassetti, three hundred and thirty 
crowns, and exempted him from rendering an 
account of his rents, of which he had probably 
been in the receipt. And, lastly, he appoints 
Fra Fulvio Tassoni, a knight of Malta, and 
his nearest relative, residuary legatee, request- 
ing, that, at his death, he may not dispose of 
his property to any person who may not be of 
the Tassoni family. After the demise of the 
said Fulvio, he leaves one thousand crowns, of 
six lire each, to the principal of the canons of 
the cathedral of Modena, to be annually dis- 
tributed in premiums, on the feast of S. Michael, 
the day of his birth, to the youth of the city 
and territory of Modena, in manner follow- 
ing: — The first premium, of ten crowns, to the 
author of the best composition on a given sub- 
ject, in verse or prose, in the lingua volgare. 
The second, of ten crowns also, for the best 
production in Latin. The third and fourth 
premiums, of one golden scudo each, for the 
second best essay in either of those languages. 
He then prescribes the manner in which the 
examination should be conducted. Three 
judges were to preside; and, in case of any 
disagreement in opinion, the final decision to 


rest with the bishop*. He then names his 

While he was in the service of the Cardinal 
Lodovisio, he thought it necessary to revoke 
the will from which we have just given some 
extracts ; and, warned by symptoms of approach- 
ing dissolution, he determined to lose no time 
in making a new legal disposition of the pro- 
perty of which he was then possessed. Accord- 
ingly he prepared, in July 1630, another will, 
which commences thus : " I, Alessandro Tas- 
" soni, son of Bernardino, finding myself, by 
" the grace of God, sound in body and in 
" mind, except one incurable malady, namely, 
" the age of sixtj^-fivef; and being willing to 
" dispose of my property, not for my own in- 
" terest, but for the benefit of others, and lest 
" my dying intestate should prove prejudicial 

* Rousseau, with his usual inconsistency, would, probably, 
have censured this bequest. " II y a millc prix pour les beaux 
" discours," says he, " aucun pour les belles actions." This re- 
mark, however, appears in a Discourse which " remporte le prix 
" a I'academie de Dijon en I'annee 1750." But, notwithstand- 
ing the censure which the peevish philosopher passes on " prix 
*' pour les beaux discours," the laudable desire which Tassoni 
evinced to promote elegant literature in his native cit}'^, roust be 
ever had in grateful remembrance by his countrymen, 

t Montaigne calls old age, " a potent maladj'." 


" to any body, I do hereby," &c. He pro- 
ceeds : " To his eminence the Cardinal Lodo- 
" visio, the master whom I now serve, I be- 
*' queath all my printed books, and all my 
" manuscripts, praying him to obtain from the 
'^ master of the sacred palace, four volumes in 
" folio,written by me, which contain an abridge^ 
" ment of all history, sacred and profane, from 
" the birth of Christ to the year 1400 ; in case 
*' the said four volumes should not be restored 
" before my death*." But the cardinal hap- 
pening to die before him, he made another will 
on the 30th of March, ^QS5. He was then ill, 
and deprived of the sight of one eye. In this 
will he bequeathed various legacies to the 
charitable institutions of the city ; a respect- 
able legacy to his good friend, the Canonico 
Annibale Sassi ; and other legacies to different 
branches of the Tassoni family, his relatives ; 
and to the Marquis Fulvio Rangoni, and 

* The purpose for which the Annals were placed in the hands 
of the master of the sacred college, and the consequence of that 
step, are thus explained by M. de C. " Le Tassoni ayant voulu 
" faire iraprimer cet ouvrage, en avoit confie le manuscrit au 
" maitre du sacre palais ; mais quand il alia le redemander, il 
" trouva que le censeur avoit raye beaucoup de choses, non seule- 
*' ment de lui, mais prises litt^ralement dans Baronius ; ce qui 
" lui fit perdre toute esperance de voir I'imprcssion de son livre- 
" sous des censeurs si sciupuleux." Tom, iii. p, 214. 


Francesco Montecuccoli, he left memorials 
of his regard. To the Marquis Taddeo Ran^ 
goni*' he bequeathed the portrait of the king 
of Sweden t, and a little book of genealogy, 
which lay in his armory. To Fulvio Testi (a 
celebrated poet, and secretary to the duke, 
Francis I.) he left his printed books, and ma- 
nuscripts, with a request to print the four 
volumes of his Annals,— r requisition that was 
never complied with, for Testi died soon after 

* Amongst the Poesie Liriche of Testi, is a poera on II dl 
uatale del sig. Marchese Taddeo Rangoni. 

t The king of Sweden, whose portrait Tassoni bequeathed to 
his friend, was, I presume, the great Gustavus Adolphus, with 
whom he had probably been acquainted, as a considerable part 
of the youth of the accomplished hero of the North had been 
passed in Italy. From a letter addressed b3'^ Galileo to his dis- 
ciple, Renieri, we leam, that Gustavus resided sometime in 
Padua for the purpose of attending the public lectures of that 
celebrated astronomer, and of receiving instructions from him in 
the Tuscan language. It would seem, however, that while 
Gustavus was employed in cultivating his mind in Ital}"-, he 
was artfully rendering iiis residence in that country subservient 
to his political designs. *' II protegea les Luth6riens en Alle- 
" magne," says Voltaire, " seeonde en cela par les intrigues de 
" Rome meme, qui craignait encore plus la puissance de I'era- 
" pereur que celle de I'heresie." Hist, de Charl. XII. liv. i. 
From an interesting and characteristic anecdote related by my 
learned friend Dr, Irving, it appears that Gustavns was a warm 
admirer of the poetrj-^ of Buchanan. Mem. of the Life and 
Writ, of Geo. Buchanan, Edinb, 1807, p. 171, note (r). 


in prison ; and, as he left no heir, all his papers 
were dispersed and neglected. On Marzio Tas- 
soni, then a captain in the service of Prince 
Luigi d'Este, he settled a monthly allowance 
of twenty-five ducatoni, to continue during 
his natural life, with linen, clothes, 8cc. This 
was the illegitimate son whom he did not seem 
willing to acknowledge, but who, having en- 
tered into the army, reformed, and acquired, 
by his good conduct, the favour of the prince 
whom he served, and, at length, recovered the 
affections of his father. He appointed Fra 
Marc' Antonio Tassoni, a knight of Malta, 
his residuary legatee. For this young man 
he entertained a very warm regard. It was 
at his instance he assumed the cross of Malta; 
and it was he who furnished him with money 
when he went to perform his noviciate, and 
also when he returned to make the carava?ia*. 
Unfortunately this young man was in Malta 
at the time of our author's death; so that he 
had not the satisfaction to resign his last 

* The caravana vTds the prescribed tune passed by everj 
knight of Malta in naval expeditions against the Algerines, 
The knights of the order of S. Stefano, instituted by Cosmo I, 
grand duke of Florence, were also obliged to perform the 
caravana. See Corresp. between the Coimtrsses of Hartfort and 
Pomfret, vol, i, p. 215. Land. 1805. 


breath in the arms of one whom he so affec- 
tionately regarded. No tender office, how- 
ever, it is hoped, was wanting in the parting 
moment; but his eyes looked up in vain for 
the object of his affections, and closed for 

The surviving heir to the family property, 
when Muratori wrote (1744), was Count Giulio 
Cesare Tassoni, one of the gentlemen in wait- 
ing to the reigning duke of M odena, Francis III., 
and post-master general; a nobleman, who not 
only distinguished himself in the service of his 
sovereign, but in the republic of letters. 

Having attended Tassoni through all the vi- 
cissitudes of his chequered life, it now remains 
to close these memoirs with a brief delinea- 
tion of his character, and a description of his 

Amongst the literati, and the courtiers 
of Rome, where he chiefly resided, " he is 
" allowed," says Muratori, " to have made 
" a distinguished figure." He was eloquent 
in conversation; gay or serious as circum- 
stances permitted, or required ; and in his 
manners, open, easy, and elegant. To bril- 
liant talents he united a sound understanding. 
Ardent in the pursuit of knowledge, he had not 
only enriched his mind with a large fund of 


classic lore, but had formed a general acquaint- 
ance with all the learning of his day. It may 
be said, his erudition, like that of Cowley, 
" was large and profound, well composed of all 
" ancient and modern knowledge. But it sat 
" exceeding close and handsomely upon him: 
" it was not embossed on his mind, but ena- 
" melled*." In his Pensieri he displays an 
intimate acquaintance with all the sciences, 
and many of the useful and elegant arts which 
were cultivated in his age. His Annati evince 
the depth and extent of his historical researches. 
And from the various diplomatic and other pub- 
lic situations, which he filled with so much satis- 
faction to his employers, it may be presumed that 
his political acquirements were considerable. 
Although a student, if not a believer, injudi- 
cial astrology, he was, in general, a foe to pre- 
vailing prejudices, and often attacked them 
with the united force of wit and ridicule. He 
is accused of dealing in paradoxes ; a charge 
which, if well founded, may be defended by 
supposing it proceeded rather from a desire to 
exercise his intellectual powers, than from a 
wish to mislead his readers. lo voglio dir delle 
novita, che questo e il mio scopo, is his own con- 

* Sprat, Life of Cowley^ 



fession to his friend Baldi. In verbal criticism 
he seemed to indulge with much pleasure, and 
often with great success : his critical remarks 
are frequently judicious, and generally inge- 
nious and acute*. To poetry he owes his 
celebrity ; yet he appears to have only re- 
laxed, or dallied with his muse. The critic, 
the annalist, and the politician, may, however, 
be forgotten ; but the author of La Secchia 
Rapita will be immortal. 

Qui par les traits hardis d'un bizarre pinceau 
Mit ritalie en feu pour la perte d'un Seau t, 

will live for ever in the memory of the lovers 
of poetry. 

* Vid. Muratori, Vita del Tassoni, p. 75, Besides great 
critical skill in his vernacular tongue, Muratori says, " aveva 
" anche non mediocre intelligenza della lingua Provenzale, e in 
" sua raano era stata la preziosa Raccolta de' Poeti di quella 
" nazione, che or si truova nella biblioteca Estense, ed e la piu 
" antica fra quante si conseryano in Francia, ed Italia." Ibid. 
Should this MS. be still in existence, it may, perhaps, be con- 
sulted with profit by some future historian of the bards of Pro- 
vence. Its fate certainly merits an inquiry. 

t Boileau, Le Lutrin, ch. iv. The spirited lines quoted in 
the text, are thus feebly and inelegantly translated by Mr. 
Ozell :— 

O thou whose muse's bold fantastic flight 
Did the Bolonian Bucket's Rape indite ; 
Vile cause of war ! all Latium to engage 
In bloody ajms, the Helen of their rage. 


Concerning the private virtues of Tassoni, 
his former biographers are silent ; yet private 
virtues he had. We have given an instance of 
his pious resignation to the will of Heaven. 
And we find him, with parental solicitude, 
placing his youthful son, — not at a public 
school, but in the care of a relative and friend, 
when his duty called him to another country. 
In promoting charitable institutions he was 
liberal : and his Last Will records his anxious 
wish to encourage elegant literature in his 
native city. 

It is painful to turn from contemplating 
this pleasing view of his character, to notice 
one dark trait in it. He was implacable 
in his resentments* When his wrath was 
awakened, his thirst of vengeance was insa- 
tiable. He pursued, with unrelenting fury, 
the libeller who assailed him, or the critic 
who presumed to attack his literary opi 
nions. Whenever he took up the " muse's 
" quill," he dipped it in gall, and " the bitter 
" juice" dropt upon his paper. His poems 

A good translation of the Lutrin is still a desideratum, though 
Ozell challenged Mr. Cleland " to show better verses in all Pope's 
" works, than his (Ozell's) version of Boileau's Lutrin." See 
Notes on the Dunciad, book i. 


are satires. He was, in fact, an illustrious 
instance of the 

Genus irritabile vatum*. 

My duty, as a biographer, obliged me to 
notice the constitutional infirmity in my author 
which I have just described. But I am willing 
to believe, that his disembodied spirit has long 
mourned over the deep wounds which he in- 
flicted during the polemical warfare in which 
he was engaged. Most gladly, indeed, would 
I persuade myself, that he may be numbered 
with those " eminent departed authors, who, 
" could they revisit the human scene, after 
*' residing in a purer sphere, and revise their 
" own productions, would (as an elegant and 
" benevolent writer of our own time supposes) 
" probably annihilate all the virulent invectives 
" which the intemperance of human passions 
" had so abundantly producedt." 

* Hor. Epist. ii. lib. ii. Of this genus were Tassoni's con- 
temporaries, Guarini and Chiabrera. See App, No. iii. and iv. 
Indeed Italy has long abounded in this unhappy race, for whom, 
as yet, no effectual lenitives have been discovered. This case 
has been considered in a moral point of view by Dr. Johnson, 
(^Ramb. No. 54,) who has, in more than one instance, evinced his 
aflSnity to that choleric fraternity; 

t Hayley, Desult. Remarks, 4[C.p. xiii. prefixed to The Life of 
Wm. Cowper, Esq. vol. i. Oct. Chich. 1806. 


With regard to his stature, the biographers 
of Tassoni are silent. But we are told that 
his complexion was fair ; his eyes sparkling ; 
his forehead spacious ; his hair, even in his 
youth, white ; his countenance lively, perhaps 
we might say, facetious; and his air graceful. 
In his portrait he is usually represented with 
a fig in his hand ; for which Muratori thus ac- 
counts. Passing one day through one of the 
squares in Rome, he observed some figs ex- 
posed to sale, which appeared to him uncom- 
monly good. On demanding the price of the 
fruit woman to whom they belonged, she pre- 
sented him with one, and desired him to taste 
before he purchased. Pleased with the gene- 
rosity of the poor woman, he boasted of her 
gift, saying, it was the first he had received 
in the course of his life; and immediately 
determined to be painted with a fig in his 
right hand. This ma}^ be considered as a stroke 
of humour, or, perhaps, the effect of the peevish- 
ness sometimes occasioned by the irritability of 
genius; for, although he might have been dis- 
appointed in the expectations he had formed 
from some of his patrons, he certainly expe- 
rienced the munificence of others. " Le Men 
" qu'il laissa a sa mort" says his French 
translator, " ne temoignoit pas leur ingratitude," 


The following distich is usually placed under 
his portrait : 

Dextera cur Ficum, quaeris, mea gestet inanera ? 
Longi operis merces hasc fuit. Aula dedit*. 

These lines apply so appositely to the anecdote 
we have just related, that they are generally 
attributed toTassoni. ButMuratori seems to 
think they were written before his time. Per- 
haps they were in his recollection when he 
praised the generosity of the fruit woman at 
the expense of his patrons ; and being pleased 
with the joke, he determined to perpetuate it. 
If, however, we are to consider the satire 
as pointed, it was probably directed against 
the court of Turin, where Tassoni certainly 

* These lines miglit have owed their birth to a Spjinish pro- 
verbial expression of high antiquity, which must be familiar to 
some of mj' readers, and to which Tassoni himself alludes in the 
Seech. Rap. Cant. iv. st. 3.— 

II donativo suo non vale un fico. 

In TheMei'ry Wives of Windsor, Pistol says, "A fico for the phrase." 
And in the Second Part of Henry the Sixth, we have " A fig for 
" Peter." So that the phrase in question must have been fami- 
liar in England as well as in Spain, before it was employed b}^ 
Tassoni. The phrase of ** making the fig," was of higher anti- 
quity. See some curious remarks on this subject in Mr. Deuce's 
valuable Illust. of Shakspeare, Lond, 1807, vol. i. p. 492 — 501. 
See also the Notes upon Mr. Southey's delightfully wild poem of 
Thalaba, vol. i. p . 309, and his translation of the curious Chron. of 
the Cid. p. 99. 


experienced some disappointments. It was 
the only court of which he had just reason to 
complain. His hopes of getting admission into 
the Roman court were, it is true, frustrated; 
but having performed no service, he could ex- 
pect no reward. We may therefore conclude, 
that in the distich in question, he meant (if 
he wrote it) either to be jocose, or to give the 
court of Turin a '^ satiric touch." This leads 
me to offer a few remarks upon the state of 
patronage in Italy in the seventeenth century. 
My researches warrant me in saying, that it 
was extensive, yet discriminating. Men of 
learning and genius were, during that period, 
rarely allowed to pine in indigence and ob- 
scurity. They were not compelled to ascend to 
the chilly region of the garret, and to write for 
bread at " a broken pane." Princes sought 
them out, — received them into their courts, — 
admitted them into their cabinets, — and invest- 
ing them with diplomatic powers, dispatched 
them on missions to the neighbouring courts*. 

* The laudable practice to which I refer, had obtained in 
Italy from the fifteenth century, when " the most accomplished 
" scholars," says Mr. lloscoe, " were, in almost every govern- 
" ment, the first ministers of the time •" and where, he continues, 
" ofiices of the highest trust and confidence were often filled by 


Nor were the doors of the palaces of the 
nobility, or of the chief dignitaries of the 
church, closed against them. In many of 
these palaces a state and splendour, much 
resembling that of the royal court, were 
affected. Their households were generally 
established on the same plan, and their offi- 
cers bore the same titles. This magnificence 
of establishment* afforded an ample provi- 
sion and an honourable asylum for indigent 
merit, while it proved an incitement to the 
cultivation of elegant literature. The votaries 
of the muses, — if the muses were propitious, — 

" men who quitted the superintendence of an academy, or the 
" chair of a professor, to transact the affairs of a nation." Life 
of Lor. de' Medici, ch. vii. 

* We find this magnificence of establishment prevailing in the 
castles of the English nobility during the 15th and 16th centuries, 
particularly in those of the noble families of Howard and Northum- 
berland. See Pref. to the Earl of Northumberland's Household- 
Book. Begun A. D. M.D.XIJ. — one of the most curious records 
of domestic history extant. 

In adverting to the splendid establishments of the ancient 
nobility of Italy and England, we are reminded of the reply 
of the celebrated Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici to a friend 
who advised him to dismiss some of his large train of domestic 
officers. " No," he replied, " I do not retain them in my court 
*• because I have occasion for their services, but because they 
" have occasion for mine." — 'A reply in which pride and bene- 
volence were united. 


were not diverted from their pursuits by the 
dread of future scorn or neglect. They knew 
that if they should not be honoured with the 
protection of their little sovereigns, they might 
look forward, with well-founded hope, to a 
provision, and to flattering distinctions, in 
some of the palaces of the prelates, or of the 
nobility. Nor were their feelings in danger 
of being wounded : for, if invested with the 
titles of chamberlains, gentlemen in waiting, 
or secretaries, they felt honoured by the dis- 
tinction, as the same respectability attached to 
these offices on private establishments, as to 
those of equal rank in the households of sove- 
reign princes, provided that the investiture 
proceeded from holy, or from noble hands. 
So that Tassoni could not justly complain 
of having " fallen on evil days." He should 
not, therefore, have directed the painter to 
represent him as holding a worthless fig (jicum 
inanem), but rather to depict him with both 
his hands raised in gratitude to Heaven. 

Having, in the course of these memoirs, 
noticed chronologically, and sometimes criti- 
cally, the several productions of my author, a 



recapitulation would, perhaps, be deemed an 
unnecessary, if not an impertinent extension 
of these pages. But as La Secchia Rapita may 
be said to form in itself, or, at least, to have 
given birth to, a new class in ihe epic depart- 
ment; and as it is the production to which the 
author owes his celebrity, I feel it in some 
degree incumbent on me to consider it not 
only critically, but analytically. This I could 
not do under the year of its appearance, with- 
out an unreasonable suspension of the narra- 
tive. I have, therefore, reserved my strictures 
for the conclusion of the work, and shall accord- 
ingly proceed to offer them. 

We have already mentioned the motive 
which probably led to the composition of 
this extraordinary poem. It now remains to 
examine the poem itself. 

With regard to form, the Secchia Rapita 
is strictly epic. But it exhibits a new modi- 
fication of the Epopee: it is an heroi-comic 
poem, which Dr. Warton esteems the most 
excellent kind of satire. " As the poet," says 
he, " disappears in this way of writing, and 
" does not deliver the intended censure in his 
•^ own person, the satire becomes more delicate, 
^' because more oblique. Add to this," he con- 
tinues, " that a tale or story more strongly 


^' engages and interests the reader, than a 
" series of precepts, or reproofs, or even of 
" characters themselves, however hvely and 
" natural*." To Tassoni, therefore, we owe 
the invention of a new species of satire of the 
most delightful kind. It is observed by the 
elegant critic whom we have just quoted, that 
" Cervantes is the father, and the unrivalled 
" model, of the true mock-heroic f." With 
the immortal romance of Cervantes, Tassoni 
was, it may be presumed, well acquainted, 
from his frequent allusions to it. But he did 
not seem to think it necessary to imitate 
throughout his poem, the solemn irony which 
distinguishes that admirable work ; nor did he 
think, with Mr. Cambridge, that the author 
should never be seen to laugh ; neither did 
he religiously observe propriety, which is 
esteemed the fundamental excellence of such 
productions J. But, as he had no archetype, 
he cannot be accused of departing from any 
established practice; nor can he be charged 
with the infraction of any law, as no code had 
yet been formed for the mock-heroic depart- 
ment of the Epopee. His poein, however, 

♦ Essay on Pope, vol. i. p. 211. Loud. 1732> 

t Ibid. p. 255. 

^ Pref. to the Scnbkriad, p. v. 


thus cast in an original mould, and graced 
with the charms of novelty, gained rapidly on 
the favour of the public. It was not only, on 
its first appearance, much read and admired 
in its original language, but soon after trans- 
lated into, and imitated in, almost all the 
modern languages of Europe* Yet it does 
not seem to answer the idea which Mr. Cam- 
bridge had formed in his mind of the mock- 
heroic; an idea which he realised in his 
Scribleriady — a classic production, which was 
never popular, and which seems now to have 
sunk into neglect*. It is, however, acknow- 
ledged by that learned and ingenious writer, 
that " he admires some of our mock-heroics 
" for their very faults." These faults, which 
he thus censures and admires, appear to be 
" graces beyond the reach of art," snatched, 
with a daring hand, by the authors of the 
poems which were the objects of his reluctant 
approbation. They may be deviations from 
propriety, and from the standard which 
Mr. Cambridge conceived to be the true 
one; but they have undoubtedly served to 
promote the celebrity of the poems in which 

* This poem first appeared in 1751. It has been lately re- 
printed, with great elegance, in a publication which does honour 
to the filial piet\' of the editor. 


they are found. They may be considered as 
effusions of the vivida vis animi, which, as Pope 
observes, makes us admire even while we dis- 

But it is now time to close these general re- 
marks into which we have insensibly digressed, 
and to examine particularly the poem under 

It will perhaps be necessary to premise, that 
the author departs in one instance from the 
usual practice of Epic poets : he does not, like 
Homer, rush into the middle of his subject — 

in medias res, 

Non secus ac notas, auditorem rapit*. 

He conducts his action historically ; all his 
events follow in regular succession f. He 

* Hor. de Art. Poet. 1. 148, 149. Perrault approves of Tassoni's 
departure from the established practice of epic poets, " car 
" outre," says he, *' que toute imitation a quelque chose de bas 
" et de servile j je croi," he continues, *' que si Ton y veut 
" prendre garde, et se defaire de toute prevention. Ton trouvera 
" que cette raaiiiere usltee de commencer un poeme ou autre 
** ouvrage historique par le milieu, n'a pas un si agreable effet 
" qu'on le suppose, et qu'au lieu de dormer du contentement, 
'* cette transposition cause souvent de I'ennuy par les long recits 
" qu'il faut necessairement qui soient faits par quelques per- 
" sonnages du poeme." 

t This was the plan adopted by Trissino, whose Italia Liberatd 
details, in regular succession, the events of the Gothic war. 


observes not only unity of design, but unity 
of action. 

The inhabitants of Modena declared war 
(13C5) against the Bolognese, on the refusal 
of the latter to restore to them some towns 
which had been detained ever since (1249) the 
time of the Emperor Frederick II. This is the 
real subject of Tassoni's poem. But availing 
himself of a popular tradition, according to 
which it was believed, that a certain wooden 
bucket, which is still kept at Modena, in the 
tower of the cathedral called Guirlandina, 
came from Bologna, and that it bad been 
forcibly taken away by the Modenese, the 
author feigns that the war was carried on by 
the Bolognese for the purpose of recover- 
ing from the people of Modena, a bucket 
which a party of their troops had carried 
away from a draw-well in the city. He 
treats the subject, thus modified, or rather 
plays with it, in a most enchanting manner, 
employing occasionally, as it suits his pur- 
pose, the embellishment of classic, or Gothic 
machinery*. While his sarcastic vein flows 

* It is observed of Tasso, by Bishop Hurd, that " coming into 
" the world a little of the latest for the success of the pure Gothic 
" manner, he thought fit to trim between that and the classic 
" model" Lett, on Chival. p. 76. Although Tasso and Tassoni 


freely, we are delighted with the fertility 
of his fancy, and the brilliancy of his 
wit. He passes from grave to gay with the 
rapidity of thought. While we are gazing, 
with rapture, on a sublime or beautiful pic- 
ture^ a grotesque image rushes before us. 
It vanishes, and our admiration is again 
excited. Again a smile is raised, — -and again 
we are serious. In short, the variety is 
endless. It may be said that the author 
now borrows the pencil of Correggio, now 
that of Michelagnolo, and then the burine of 

It is observed by Dryden, that La Secchia 
Rapita is a satire of the Varronian kind. 
" The words," says he, " are stately, the 
'' numbers smooth, the turn both of thoughts 
*' and words is happy. The first six lines of 
" the stanza seem majestical and severe; but 
" the two last turn them into a pleasant 

were contemporaries, it is probable that the latter had no idea of 
trimming. He availed himself of the privilege of a buriesque 

* '« Le serienx y est noble et eleve, et le burlesque y est 
" toujours enjoiie et remply d'un sel agreable ; il n'y a rien de 
•* plus ingenieux, ni de plus poetique, que ses descriptions, rien 
" de plus serieux que les combats de ses heros, rien de plus 
" passionne que les sentimens amoureux qu'il decrit en quelqtxes 
" endroits." Pcrraidtf Reflex, sur le potme du Seau enleve. 


" ridicule*." There is some truth in this 
remark; but, like Drj?den's critical remarks 
ia general, it appears to be the result of a 
slight or hasty inspection. He bad probably 
opened the first canto, and found the follow- 
ing stanza : 

Del celeste rnonton gia il sol uscito 
Saettava co' rai le nubi algenti. 
Parean stellati i campi, e '1 ciel fioiito, 
E su '1 tranquillo mar dormieno i venti. 
Sol zefiro ondeggiar facea su '1 lito 
L' erbetta moUe, e i fior vaghi e ridentl, 
E s' udian gli nsignuoli al primo albore, 
E gli asini cantar versi d' araore, St. 6. 

Now had the sun the heav'nly ram forsook, 
Darting thro' wintry clouds his radiant look ; 
The fields with stars, the sky with flow'rs seem'd drest j 
The winds lay sleeping on the sea's calm breast ; 
Soft zephyr only breathing o'er the meads, 
Kiss'd the young grass, and wav'd the tender reeds : 
The nightingales were heard at peep of day, 
And asses singing am'rous roundelay. OzelL 

Or, perhaps, he did not proceed beyond the 
first stanza : 

Vorrei cantar quel memorando sdeguo, 
Ch' infiammo gia ne' fieri petti uraani 
Un' infelice e vil Secchia di legno, 
Che tolsero a i Petroni i Gemignani. 

* Ded. to the Sat. of Juvenal^ p. xlijt. fol. 1695. 


Febo, che mi raggiri entro lo' ngegno 
L' orribil guerra, e gli accidenti stranij 
Tu, che sai poetar serviiBi d' Ajo, 
E tiemmi per le raaniche del sajo. 

The muse records the memorable rage 
That mortal bosoms fiU'd with hostile hate. 
The Bucket's fatal round shall fill my page. 
Pandora's box to the Petronian state, 
With wild Gemenian match'd in wild debate. 
O Phoebus ! give me on the gale to rise. 
And soaring, to survey the work of fate ; 
Or, if Meonian wings my lot denies. 

By my long sleeves at least suspend me in the skies *. 


Concluding that all the succeeding stanzas 
were constructed in the same mixed manner, 
he hazarded the remark which we have quoted. 
But had he looked further into the poem, he 
might have found several stanzas in which the 
two last lines correspond perfectly, or, it may 
be said, harmonize with the preceding six. 
We shall adduce a single instance, — 

Dormiva Endimion tra 1' erbe e i fiori, 
Stanco dal faticar del lungo giomo, 
E mentre I' aura e 'I ciel gli estivi ardori 
Gli gian temprando, e amoreggiando intorno ; 

* Ozell takes an unwarrantable liberty with this line. He 
thus translates it : 

O lead me by the sleeve, and be the blind man's guide. 


Quivl discesi i pargoletti amori 
Gli avean discinta la feretra e '1 como, 
Ch' a 'chiusi lumi, e a lo splendor del viso 
Fu ioro di veder Cupido avviso. 

Ca7it. viii. st, 47. 

Worn with the labours of a tedious day, 

Stretch'd on the ground, the young Endymion lay; 
His fragrant breath, attemper'd zephyrs sip. 
Feed on his smile, and linger on his lip. 
And now a group of Loves that hover'd round 
His shining quiver, and his horn unbound. 
They thought, exhausted as his eyehds clos'd. 
Their brother Cupid languish'd and repos'd. 

M. M. Clifford. 

These lines might, perhaps, serve as a spe- 
cimen of the beauties with which this poem 
abounds; but we shall, as we proceed, notice a 
few more passages, which we think equally 
deserving of admiration. 

Although Tassoni seemed, on a former occa- 
sion*, to be rather deficient in descriptive 

* I allude to L'Oceano. In this poena the " descriptions are 
*' often of too general a nature, and want that minutene^ which 
" is necessary to interest a reader," But L'Oceano was the 
production of early youth ; La Secchia Rapita of advanced life. 
The great difference, in point of merit, between these two poems, 
fully evinces the justness of Dr. Beattie's observation, that " in 
** youthful compositions there may be more of that romantic 
" cast of imagination, which young people admire; but very 
" rarely is there so much of those qualities that are universally 
*' pleasing, as in the productions of persons farther advanced in 


powers, yet he appears, in the poem under 
review, to excel in description. In cant. ii. 
st, 37, the splendour of the court of Jove is 
dazzling. And this splendour is, if possible, 
heightened by the description, partly serious 
and partly comic, {st. 29, 30,) of the dresses 
and equipages of the gods when they are pro- 
ceeding to attend the council convened by 
Jove. After being dazzled, for awhile, with 
celestial splendours, we are enchanted with 
the milder beauties of the narrative of the 
voyage of Venus to Naples in cant. x. We 
follow, with delight, the bark of the Queen of 
Love skimming the smooth surface of the 
Mediterranean sea, while 

Ardon d' amori i pesci, e la vicina 

Spiaggia languisce invidiando a I' onde. 

E stanno gli amoretti ignudi intenti 

A la vela, al governo, a i remi, a i venti. St. 12. 

The fishes bum with love ; the neighbouring shore 
Her grudging grief in groans, their bliss to spy. 
Told to the naked Loves that ply'd the oar ; 
While on the shrouds the winged family 
The canvass reefed, and one with steady eye 
Stood at the helm, &c. 

" life ; I mean, knowledge of human nature, good sense, mature 
" reflection, and accuracy of plan and language." Life of 
Dr. Beattie, vol. i. p. 282. Edinb. 1807. 


In this charming little episode, the geogra- 
phical accuracy of the author is very remark- 
able. Nor is his topographical accuracy less 
so in the description of the city and territory 
of Modena, {cant, i. 5^. 8, 9,) although he 
was naturally tempted, by partiality for his 
natal soil, to employ, on this occasion, 
his warmest and brightest colours. His 
camp and battle scenes (particularly those in 
cant. iv. st. 1. cant. vi. 5^. 1, 2, S, 4, 5,) 
are described with great animation. They are 
vivid pictures. His battles, like those of 
Homer, " are supplied with so vast a variety 
*' of incidents, that no one bears a likeness to 
" another; such different kinds of deaths, that 
" no two heroes are wounded in the same 
" manner*." It must, however, be observed, 
that in these scenes of blood, Tassoni makes 
no attempt to excite our pity; to raise a laugh 
is his object, and in this he generally succeeds. 
Many instances might be adduced, but I shall 
only refer to cant, i. st, 27, 28, and cant. iv. 
St. Q4, in which there are some admirable 
strokes of humour, particularly in 5^. 28 and 29 
of the latter canto, which I am tempted to 

* Pope, Pref. to the Iliad, 


Uccise Braghetton * da Bibianello 

Ch' un tempo a Roma fece il cortigiano, 
E '1 norae v' intaglio co lo scarpello 
Sotto Montecavallo a manca mano. 
Avea la pancia come un caratello, 
E avria bevuta la citta d' Albano, 
Ne mai chiedeva a Dio nel suo pregare, 
Se non che convertisse in vino il mare. 

Gli divise la pancia il colpo fiero, 

E una borracchia, ch* a 1' arcione avea. 

Cadeano il sangue, e '1 vin sopra '1 sentiero, 

E 'I misero, del vin piu si dolea. 

L' alma, ch' usciva fuor col sangue nero, 

Al vapor di quel vin si ritraea, 

E lieta abbandonava il corpo grasso, 

Credendo andar fra le delizie a spasso. 

Then Braghetton of Bibianel he slew, 
A Roman courtier once, a man of pride j 
Montecavallo gave his name to view 
Carv'd by his hand on the sinister side. 
He had a paunch that many a gill could hide 
Of rosy wine in girth, a drunkard rare : 
Scarce had Albano's vaults his draught supply'd. 
And nought he ask'd but an abundant share 

Of right Falernian juice of Providence in prayer. 

The deadly sabre cut his paunch in twain. 
And eke a leathern bottle slung behind ; 
ITie red commingled current drench'd the plain ; 
Bat for that spilth the grudging ghost repin'd 
More than the wound, tho' mountiug on the wind. 

* Braghetton is acknowledged by the author to be a picture 
after nature, " un rittratto cavato dal naturale d'un persoimaggio 
'* era morto, che quadrava a puntino." 


Yet oft she stoop'd to snuff the fragrant fame. 
Rejoiced from that vile dungeon-head 
The means to 'scape, and such a lenient boon 
As gave him what he lik'd in life's inglorious tomb. 


The similes with which the author may be 
said to emboss his narrative, are generally 
lofty, rarely sinking into the burlesque, except 
in cases where to be ludicrous is to be con- 
sistent. Many of them preserve the epic 
dignity throughout; such, for instance, as those 
in cant. vi. st. 32. The following simile would 
not seem misplaced, either in the Iliad, or in 
Gerusalemme Liberata. 

Qual tigre, in su la preda a la foresta 
Colta da' cacciatori, e circondata, 
Poi che al periglio suo leva la testa, 
Volge fremendo i livid' occhi, e guata ; 
Indi s' a\^enta incontra 1' armi, e resta 
Del proprio, e de 1' altrui sangue bagnata : 
Tal fra 1' anni neraiche il re s' avventa, 
Ch' I magnanimo cor nulla paveuta. 

Then, as a tiger in a woody glen. 

By hunters hemm'd around in circuit wide. 

When first the danger comes within his ken, 

A fell and louring look, on every side. 

Casts horrible ; and, eager to decide 

His doom, with ramping rage assails the foe. 

And greatly falls in mingled slaughter dy'd : 

The monarch thus appear'd, with dauntless brow. 

Amid the hostile band that seem'd to grow. B. 


The speeches in this poem are perfectly 
characteristic. The author never appears in 
them. Such of them as are intended to rouse 
the drooping courage of the troops, are, indeed, 
" spirit stirring." It is impossible to read 
coolly the speech of Mars, under the form 
of Scalandrone, in cant. iv. st. 18, 19, ^0; 
or that of the fair and gallant Renoppia in 
cant. vii. st. 59, 60. 

In allegorical personages the Secchia Rapita 
does not abound. A few, however, occur, and 
these are always judiciously employed. When 
the aid of the gods is necessary to protect the 
threatened bucket, — the Helen of the war*, — 
Fame, of course, is the ambassadress emplo3^ed 
on the occasion. But we must admire the judg- 
ment, if not the invention of the author, in 
placing Fortune " in eminente" on the right 
hand of Jove, Fate on his left, and Death and 
Time as his footstool. Cant. ii. st. 42. In 
personifying the winds, Tassoni merely follows 
the practice of former poets : but it is only, I 
believe, in the poem under consideration, that 
we find the north wind sleeping upon the 
Alps. Cant. X. st. 17. Perhaps the angry 
aspect and destructive powers of this boiste- 

* Elena transformarsi in una Secchia. Cant. i. St. 2. 


rous deity were never more happily displayed 
than in the following passage : 

Corre Aquilon tutto turWto iii viso, 
Ch' ode I' insulto. e freme di tanf ira, 
Che fa i tetti cader, gli arbori svelle, 
E id rena del mar caccia a le stelle. 

Hither, uiflam'd with wrath, Aquilon flew. 
Hearing the wrong, and with impetuous race 
Hamlet and forest in his rage o'erthrew. 
And dash'd with sand the welkin's glowing face. 

But the author is not more happy in draw- 
ing shadowy forms, than in delineating human, 
beings. In his characters there is an endless 
variety, yet all are nicely discriminated. But 
as personal satire was the chief object of his 
undertaking, it may be presumed that ixequent 
anachronisms occur in his motley crowd of 
personages. He not only unfolds the records 
of time to people his page, but he brings many 
of his contemporaries into action*. Had he, 
like the author of The Dunciad, only exposed 
to derision, poets without taste or genius, or 
critics without judgment, we might have par- 
doned him; but we are often provoked at the 
rancour of the man, while we smile at the wit 

* " The author," says Ozell, " in representing the personages 
" of former times, has made use of many of the present : like 
" your painters who draw from modern faces the resemblances 
" of the ancients." 


and humour of the poet. He not only " damns 
** to everlasting fame" such writers as had 
been so unfortunate as to incur his displeasure 
or resentment; but he places in ridiculous points 
of view, several persons who had, without the 
agency of the pen^ either intentionally or un- 
wittingly injured or offended him. It is justly 
observed by Dr. Warton, that " it is dangerous 
" to disoblige a great poet or painter. Dante," 
says he, " placed Brunetto in his Inferno. 
" And Michelagnolo placed the pope's master 
" of the ceremonies, Biaggio, in hell, in his 
" Last Judgment ^'^ But it does not seem that 
Tassoni was always indulgent even to his most 
intimate friends. Although he and Marino lived 
on terms of amity, he levels some sly strokes 
at him in different parts of his poem, and even 
gives a ludicrous imitation of his turgid style : 
Cant, xi. st. 26, 27, 28. Of Fulvio Testi, 
indeed, he speaks with respect and affection. 
Cant. xi. 5^. 50: but his friend Girolamo 
Preti makes rather a ridiculous figure when 
he engages in single combat with Renoppia : 
Cant. xii. st. 8, 9. Having received a slight 
wound, which he does not attempt to avenge, 

* Ess. on Pope, vol. ii, p. 377. See also Satir. di Salv. 
Rosa. Land. 1791. 


he hastens from the field, with a palUd 

(Ei si senti la guancia impailidire,) 

to seek for medical aid. 

L' accortezza, e '1 saver nocque a 1' ardire, 
Che gli affisso la mente al proprio male, 
E in cambio di pensare a la vendetta, 
Correre il fece a medicarsi in fretta. 

But the character upon which he bestowed 
the most elaborate care, breathing upon it, 
however, at every touch, " the vapour of 
" spleen," was that of the Count di Culagna, 
whom he could not number either with his 
friends, or with his foes ; nor could he charge 
him with any other crime, than the accidental 
circumstance of his retaining in his service a 
person whom he suspected of criticising, freely, 
some of his former productions. 

Something should now be said of the few 
female characters which occur. To the softer 
sex the author does not seem to be partial. 
The only female who appears in a civil capa- 
city, is the wife of the Count di Culagna, who 
abandons her inconstant husband, and throws 
herself into the arms of Titta, a former lover. 
Cant. X. st, 54. All the other females are 
warriors. Amongst the troops who collect in 


defence of Modena, we find an hundred dam- 
sels in martial habiliments, led by the fair 
Renoppia, whose appearance inspires both 
love and fear : — 

parea co' virili atti e sembianti, 

Rapir i cori, e spaventar gli amanti. 

Cant. i. St. 16. 

Her martial looks inspired such love and dread. 
Leaving their hearts behind, her lovers fled. 

This martial dame frequently appears in the 
poem, sometimes haranguing the soldiers, and 
sometimes laying 

........ about in fight more busily 

Than th' Amazonian dame Penthesile. 

Hud. cant. ii. I, 378. 

Th€ personal and mental charms of this lovely 
virago, are thus described: 

Brimi gli occhi e i capegli, e rilucenti, 
Rose, e gigli il bel volto, avorio il petto, 
Le labbra di rubin, di perle i denti, 
D' angelo avea la voce, e 1' intelletto. 

Black were her eyes, and black her shining hair ; 
As roses, fresh her face ; as lilies, fair ; 
Her neck, an iv'ry column ; silk her skin ; 
Rubies her lips, enrich'd with pearl within. 


With so much wit she spoke, so sweetly sung. 
It seem'd the music of some angel's tongue*. 


But it is said, " she was deaf at one ear," 

Era sorda da una orecchia. 

Of the Secchia Rapita it may be said, as 
Johnson observes of the Paradise Lost, that 
" there is, perhaps, no poem of the same 
" length, from which so httle can be taken 
'^ without apparent mutilation f." There are 
few episodes, or digressive passages. The 
action is seldom suspended ; nor is the rapid 
course of the narrative often obstructed by 
impertinent descriptions, or general reflexions. 
During a pause in the action after the de- 
parture of the Bolognese ambassadours, — 
which, to borrow a term from a sister art, 
might be called a repose, — the romantic tale 

* Ozell's version of this stanza is not the least happy passage in 
his translation. But he sinks into vulgarity when he says, that 
Renoppia was 

Thick of hearing, of one ear. 

Nor is his description of the colour of her eyes and hair true to 
the original : he ought to have said. 

Brown were her tresses, sparkling brown her eyes, &c. 
t Life of Miltoti. 


of Melindo is related, chiefly, it would seem, 
with a view to impress a deep stain upon the 
character of the Count di Culagna. Cant. ix. 
And the voyage of Venus to Calabria is, in 
some degree, subservient to the design of the 
poem, as it has for its object the accession of 
Manfredi to the league formed in defence 
of Modena. But the interesting little tales 
related by Scarpinel, the Demodocus of the 
poem, in the presence of Renoppia, are de- 
cidedly episodical. The Bolognese ambas- 
sadours, conducted by Manfredi, pay a visit 
to Renoppia. Anxious to amuse her visitors, 
she sends for Scarpinel *, a blind minstrel, 

in diverse lingue era eloquente, 

E sapeva in ciascuna a 1' improvviso ; 
Compor versi e cantar si dolcemeute, 
Ch' avrebbe un cor di Faraon conquiso. 

Cant, viii, st, 46. 

Full many tongues he knew, and every tongue 
Managed an unpremeditated song ; 
And all so sweetly did he thrill the ear, 
That haughty Pharaoh had been proud to hear. 

* Here is another portrait after nature. Under the cha- 
racter of Scarpinel, is shadowed Lodovico Scapinelli, a learned 
blind man, who filled occasionally the professor's chair in Pisa, 
Modena, and Bologna. Upon what authority Tassoni taught 
him to pour " the unpremeditated lay," I have not discovered. 


Scarpinel strikes his harp, and commences 
the story of Diana and Endymion *, which he 
continues, gracing his narrative with many 
poetic beauties, until the enamoured goddess 
sinks into the arms of her lover. Here the 
tale begins to glow with a lascivious warmth. 
The modesty of Renoppia takes the alarm. 
She threatens Scarpinel with her vengeance, 
if he should proceed. She then desires him 
to change his hand, and sing the praises of 
Zenobia, or the memorable death of Lucretia. 
He obeys, choosing the latter subject. Again 
he offends the modesty of Renoppia, and 
again is threatened with chastisement. And 
while the angry heroine stoops to take off her 
slipper to throw at the bard, he is apprized of 
her intention, and escapes. 

In imitation of Homer, and the epic poets 
who succeeded and imitated him, Tassoni 
thought it necessary to the integrity of his 
epic plan, to give an enumeration of his 
auxiliary forces, in the form of a catalogue. 
On this part of his poem he seems, like 
Homer, to have bestowed peculiar care. And 
here too, it cannot be denied, he indulged in 

* Aw elegant and spirited version of this tale may be found 
in Poems, by M, M. Clifford, Esq. Lond. 1808. 


genera] arid in petsonal invective. The 
impresse, or devices of many of the banners, 
were intended as satires on the troops who 
bear them, or upon their leaders*. See 
cant. iii. st. 15. Some of the leaders are 
characterized with great strength of colour- 
ing; particularly the Count di Culagna, the 
hero of the poem. 

Quest' era un cavalier bravo e galante, 

Filosofo, Poeta, e Bacchettone ; 

Ch' era fuor de' perigli un sacripante. 

Ma ne' perigli un pezzo di polmone : 

Spesso aramazzato avea qualche gigante 

E si scopriva poi, ch' era un cappoue ; 

Onde i fanciulli dietro di lontano 

Gli soleano gridar : — Viva Mariano f. 

Cant. iii. st. 12. 
He was a brave and gallant cavalier, 

Philosopher, and bard, and usher gay ; 

A Sacripant when not a foe vvas near. 

But like a stock fish in a sudden fray : 

He swore that many a time he cut in tway 

A brawny giant, with determin'd blade, 

When thro' a capon's chine he carv'd his way ; 

And scornful mouths at him the school-boys made : 
Long may Sir Martin live, they often sung, or said. B. 

* In charging the shields or banners of his warriors with 
armorial bearings expressive of their respective characters, Tas- 
soni had, perhaps, in mind the shields of T/ie Seven Chiefs against 
Thebes in the fine tragedy of Eschylus of that name. 

t This character was probably drawn either after the Pyrgo- 
polinices of Plautus, or after the character of Spampana, sup- 


In describing the march of the troops from 
Brandola, he places a poet in the rear, 

Che pretendea gran vena in poesia, 
Ne il meschin s' accorgea ch* era pazzia. 

Cant, iii. st, 54. 

Who thought himself a bard, and wrote by rule. 
Nor once suppos'd he was a rhyming fool. 

Here, it is supposed, is one of the sly strokes 
at Marino to which we have already alluded. 
But, perhaps, the most valuable parts of the 
Catalogue are the geographical and topo- 
graphical descriptions, with which the author 
took uncommon pains ; for he not only studied 
the best maps then extant, but consulted such - 
of his friends as were immediately within his 
reach, and opened a correspondence in dif- 
ferent parts of Italy, for the purpose of col- 
lecting information. Some of the topogra- 
phical descriptions are extremely minute, 
particularly that of the prato de' Grassoni. 
Cant. iii. st. 11. Some are humorous; and 
others are beautiful. If we should smile 

posed to be the original Capitano Glorioso of the Italian stage. 
See Hist, and Crit, Ess. on the Rev, of the Drama in Italy, p, 73 
Edinb. 1805. 


at the following ludicrous description of the 
Apenines : 

Apennin, ch' alza si la fronte, e '1 mento 
A vagheggiare il ciel quindi vicino, 
Che le selve del crin nevose e folte 
Servon di scopa a le stellate volte *. 

Cant. iii. sL 63. 

Lo ! Apenin with rugged front afar 

And cock'd chin peering on a neighb'ring star. 

While on his besom brows the forests high 

Seem'd meant to sweep the cobwebs from the sky. B. 

We must admire the vivid picture which is 
given of Sassolo in st, 47 of the same canto. 

Waving any strictures on the diction, a 
subject upon which, as a foreigner, it is not 
for me to decide f, I shall proceed to consider 
the machinery. 

* " Wavy Apenine." Thomson, Winter, I. 391. By the 
epithet " wavy," Thomson happily describes the garniture of 
the Apenines, of which Tassoni makes so ludicrous an use. 

t Although I have declined entering into a critical examina- 
tion of the diction of this poem, I think it necessary to observe, 
that though Tassoni, like Homer, occasionally employs the dif- 
ferent dialects of his country, it is not with a view to beautify 
and perfect his numbers, but, as one of his annotators observes, 
" per introdurre il ridicolo." — Sanctioned, indeed, b3' the example 
of Dante, he sometimes introduces his heroes speaking in the 
dialects of the districts to which they respectively belong, " II y 
** a plusieurs endroits dans I'original," says his translator, 


When the war between the Modenese and 
the Bolognese begins to assume a serious 
aspect, the gods of Homer (gli del d'Omero *) 
determine to remain no longer idle spec- 
tators. Jove accordingly convenes a meet- 
ing of the heavenly powers. They assemble 
in haste. Jove appears seated upon his throne 
with Homeric dignity. Cant. ii. st. 41 1, 

Gird lo sguardo into mo, onde sereno 
Si fe I' aer*, e 1' ciel, tacquero i venti, 
E la Terra si scosse, e 1' ampio seno 
De 1' oceano a suoi divini accenti. 

Cant. ii. st. 43, 

With mild look, over the wide firmament 
Diffusing calm, he charm'd the winds to rest ; 
The deep vibration thro' the soil was sent. 
Old ocean felt it on his heaving breast. B. 

Perrault> " enoncez en differens dialectes Italiens, ce qui 
*' donne beaucoup de grace a I'ouvrage en son original, et en 
** augmente le burlesque." 

* It is observed by Pope, that " after all the various changes 
** of times and religions, his (Homer's) gods continue to this day 
*' the gods of poetry." Pref. to the Iliad. 

t " La description de I'assemblee du conseil des dieux, est d'un 
*' style grand et heroique en son commencement, avec un peu de 
** melange de gayet6, et finit par un burlesque agreable.** 
Perrault, Reflex, sur le poeme du Seau enleve. 


Having explained the object of the meet- 
ing, he desires that the gods may offer their 
respective opinions. Saturn opens the debate. 
Sf, 45. He recommends it to the gods to take 
no part. " What is the quarrel of the Mo- 
" denese and Bolognese to us?" says he: " I 
*' wish/' he adds, " they were all hanged "^.^ 
In this wish he is joined by Mars, who, how- 
ever, in the true spirit of gallantry says, at the 
same time, that he will do any thing that his 
mistress (Venus) may desire. aS^. 47. He then 
boasts of his martial prowess. St. 47. Pallas 
rebukes him, and desires him to join her in 
assisting the Bolognese, who were ever at- 
tached to her studies. 

Bologna sempre fu a' miei studj intesa, 

Bolonia ever has unweary'd strove 

To cultivate those studies which I love. Ozell. 

AipoWo also compliments Bologna, (st. 48,) 
and offers his assistance. Bacchus declares for 

* The passage alluded to in the text, is thus translated hj 
Ozell : 

Oons ! is this all? cries the malignant sire, 
I thought at least the world had been on fire ! 
What is 't to us, if that damn'd bog below 
Be blest or curst? If war or peace they know ? 
If cheer'd by good, or by bad fortune wrung ? 
I should be glad to see 'em all well hung. 


Modena, — a city which, he sarcastically ob- 
serves, was ever dear to him. He begs of Venus 
to accompany him to the relief of his favourite 
people. She, with a smile, 

Che dicea : bacia, bacia, anima accesa *. 

St. 51. 

assents. Mars becomes jealous, and says he 
will attend her. Vulcan's jealousy is then 
awakened. He addresses Mars in abusive 
language, and asks him if he intended always 
to share his bed, and then raises his sledge to 
strike himf. Jove interferes. Venus takes 
advantage of the confusion, and descends to 
earth with Mars and Bacchus. 

Ella in terra con lor prese la via, 

E in mezzo a lor dormi su 1' osteria J. St. 56. 

As the gods of Tassoni are not less gross 
and vitious in their manners than those of 

* To this burning line, Ozell does not do full justice; but 
he seems to have caught the spirit of it : 

Venus retum'd a smile vfith luscious eyes, 
As when the soul in melting pleasure dies. 

t This quarrel amongst the gods (as has already been observed) 

probably gave birth to Lo Scherno degli Dei. 

If. In making this arrangement for the celestial travellers, it may 
be presumed that the poet had in mind a certain tale in the Orl, 
fur. cant, xxviii, st, 54 — 64. 


Homer*, a scene ensues, which may be con- 
sidered as one of the blemishes of this poem. 
The deities who have descended in amorous 
compact, appear frequently after in the poem, 
assuming, as circumstances require, various 
forms. Cant. iv. st. 17, 56. cant, vi. 5^. 71. 
cant» X. st, 27. The god of love also takes a 
part, cant, v. st, 15. And in cant, vii. st, 43, 
lovely Iris, with flowing tresses steep'd in dew, 

Tride bella 

Ch' al Sole avea 1' umida chioma stesa,— 

descends with a message to Mars. 

The Gothic machinery is confined to the 
amusing story of Melindo, which occupies 
the ninth canto f. This tale, which abounds 

* Pope asserts, that Homer's grosser representations of tlie 
gods, and the vitious manners of his heroes, will be found, upon 
examination, to proceed wholly from the nature of the times he 
lived in. This apology cannot be offered for Tassoni : he lived 
in an enlightened and refined age. Yet Urban seemed to sanc- 
tion, by his silence, his indelicacies: at least the corrections of 
his holiness were confined to a few expressions which touched the 
honour of the church. 

Ozell says, " there are some things in this poem that may appear 
" unseemly to effeminate readers/' But, he adds, " when the. 
" author composed it, he was young." At the age of forty-six, 
youth cannot, with propriety, be pleaded as an excuse for levity. 

t Perrault, speaking of the episode of Melindo, observes, " La 
" maniere dont il parle de cet enchautement et des diverse? 
" courses des autres chevaliers, fait voir qu'il s9avoit traitter 


in all the whimsies (as Bishop Hurst terms 
them) of romantic fabhng, seems to be com- 
posed of materials drawn from Vasco Lobeira, 
Boiardo, Ariosto, and other artificers of the 
Gothic romance, some of whose extravagant 
fictions he evidently borrowed for the mere 
purpose of turning them into ridicule.— A 
flaming vessel, that appears in the river, along 
the banks of which the camp is extended, is 
suddenly transformed into a verdant island, 
with smooth lawns and myrtle bowers. This 
island, which is enveloped with a dark cloud, 
becomes the scene of a tournament by torch- 
light. Giants appear, fight, and then vanish. 
Atone time the lights are extinguished; — at 
another, the island, shaken by an earthquake, 
vomits out flames, and the fight i& renewed. 
Again all is darkness, — the island trembles 
to the bed of the river, — thunders roll, — 
and a thick smoke arises* The smoke soon 

" agreablement les aventures de romans de chevallerie : le 
*' neuvieme chant qu'il employe tout entier a cette description, a 
" le mesme caractere que tout le poerae, je veux dire le melange 
" du grand et du serieux avec I'enjovie et le burlesque, et la 
" course du Comte de Coulagne, avec le recit que fait le nain 
" des aventures de son maistre, ferment agreablement et d'une 
** maniere pldsante ce neuvieme chante dont le commencement 
** avoit este grand et serieux." 


after begins to disperse, and gradually ex- 
poses to view two bulls rising out of the 

Che con occhi di foco e fiato ardente 
Parean seccare i fiori, e la verdura. 

Cant. ix. St. 33. 

These bulls rush among the combatants, and 
bear two of them upon their horns into the 
river. Still the combat continues with various 
success, and several wonderful incidents are 
produced by the power of magic. Nothing, how- 
ever, occurs which borders on the burlesque, 
until an ass issues from the ground, 

che due stivali 

Per orecchie, e una trippa avea per coda. 

St. 5S. 

Here the author indulges his humour at the 
expense of decenc}^ But he makes amends 
for this disgusting incident, by the introduc- 
tion of a beautiful damsel, the mistress of the 
knight of the island, who waits upon Renoppia, 
to offer her the love of her master, who is now, 
she says, weary of her charms, because they 
are the effect of enchantment. Renoppia, 
flattered by this tribute to her beauty, sends 
a civil message to the knight. She then takes 


from her breast a little cross, enriched with 
the tooth of a saint, 

Dov' era un dente di Sau Gemignano, 

St. 65. 

and begs of the damsel to present it, in her 
name, to her master. But the moment the 
cross touches the hand of the damsel, she and 
her attendants vanish, leaving the shields 
which they had borne, behind. While Re- 
noppia is employed in examining the deserted 
shields, the knight of the island continues 
his valorous achievements, conquering every 
champion who meets his powerful arm. At 
length a knight superbly clad, but bearing 
arms indicative of cowardice, appears. He 
advances, trembling, to meet the knight of 
the island, whom, to the astonishment of the 
spectators, he overthrows. The enchantment 
is now broken, — the lights are extinguished,— 
and the island resumes its original form. 

L' isoletta divento un barcone. 

St. 70. 

A dwarf then appears, and presents the vic- 
torious knight with the shield, which was 
intended to be the meed of victory, demand- 
ing, at the same time, according. to an ancient 


usage of chivalry, his name, his country, and 
from what family he was descended. The 
knight replies, that he is descended from the 
renowned Don Quixote, 

Principe de gli Erranti, e de gli Eroi, 

and concludes with declaring 

lo sono il Conte di Ciilagna. St. 73. 

I am the Count of Culagna. 

The count, in return, demands the name of 
his opponent; and the dwarf informs him, that 
his name is Melindo, and that his father is a 
magician. Melindo, he continues, having be- 
come enamoured of a young damsel, wishes 
to prove himself worthy of her love, and 
accordingly determined to issue the challenge 
which has given birth to the tournament. 
His father, fearing for his safety, 

Fece un incanto ch' esser perditore, 

Per forza non potea, ne per valore, St. 78, 

Such was the force of this charm, that he was 
to be invincible till he should meet with a 
coward who had not paragone in terra, and to 
his trembling arm he was to yield. In the 
Count di Culagna he found this coward, and 
was subdued. 


For the length of this critique, it is not 
thought necessary to offer any apology. The 
chief object of the present undertaking was, 
not only to trace the origin of La Secchia 
Rapita, and to relate all the circumstances 
attending its progress to and through the 
press, but to exhibit such a view of the 
various parts of the poem, as would enable 
the mere En2:lish reader to form some idea 
of the whole. Ozell's version, which is con- 
fined to the first three cantos, affords but a 
very indifferent specimen of the spirit of the 
original, although the translator defies a friend 
of Pope to " show better and truer poetry in 
" the Rape of the Lock, than in his (Ozell's) 
*' Rape of the Bucket^ " In the preface to his 
specimen, he speaks with more modesty of his 
version, promising, at the same time, to com- 
plete his plan, if his " beginning" should not 
" prompt some other to proceed upon it." 
" As books of this kind," says he, " like an 

* See an advertisement in the Weekly Medley for Sept. 20, 
1729, quoted in the notes on the Dunciad, hook i. Although 
Ozell seems to have had a more exahed idea of his own abilities 
than the world was willing to allow him, yet I do not think he 
should have been introduced in the Dunciad. He had some 
genius, and considerable learning ; and if his translations are 
sometimes deficient in elegance, tliey are often spirited, and 
generally faithful. See Biog. Dram, art. Ozeli.. 


" apple-tree upon the highway, are free for 
" any body to have a pull at, that can reach 
" them, so I know not but this beginning of 
" mine may prompt some other to proceed 
*' upon it. Be that as it shall happen, unless 
" death or sickness prevent, I'll make an end 
" on't my own way, though 'twere only to 
" exercise myself in Italian poetry." This 
promise he was, probably, never encouraged 
to perform ; for although he lived twenty- 
eight years after the publication of the second 
edition of his version*, he never proceeded 
beyond the third book. What Ozell left un- 
finished, will, it is hoped, ere long, be com- 
pleted, or rather a translation of the whole 
poem be undertaken by some abler hand, and 
full justice be at length thus rendered, in the 
English language, to the archetype of one of 
its proudest boasts, — The Rape of the Lock, 
Should the author of these pages live to see 
the accomplishment of this wish, he will 
consider himself as amply rewarded for his 

• The last edition of the Rape of the Bucket appeared in 
1715, and the translator died in 1743. 


No. L 


Of Rinuccini little more is told by his biogra- 
phers, than that he was a gentleman, and a poet. As 
Florence gave him birth, it is probable he was de- 
scended from an ancient family of the same name, 
who were lords of the strong castle of Cuona, in the 
Val d^ Arno. That his education was liberal, appears 
from his writings. Recommended by the brilliancy of 
his talents, the graces of his person, and the elegance 
of his manners, to the Medici family, he became a 
retainer in their court. Maria, afterwards queen of 
France, was then in the bloom of youth and beauty. 
Rinuccini became a captive to her charms, but sedu- 
lously concealed his passion : he 


Put never talji'd of love. 


He contrived, however, on her marriage, to get himself 
appointed one of her attendants, and accompanied her 
to the court of France, where he rose into favour with 
Henry IV., who nominated him one of the gentlemen 
of his bed-chamber. If his passion was ever known to 
Maria, it does not appear that it was ever returned. 
It probably exhaled itself in fruitless sighs. The 
transition from love to devotion, is not unfrequent. 
Having abandoned the service of the wily god, Ri- 
nuccini turned his thoughts towards heaven, and 
struck his lyre in praise of some of the saints that 
crowd the calendar. An enthusiast in love and devo- 
tion, the violence of his passions preyed upon his con- 
stitution, and in l621 he died " in the mid season of 
this mortal strife." Soon after his death, a collection, 
or rather selection, of his poetical works was published, 
with great elegance, by his son *. Amongst these we 
find the Eurydice^ and an unfinished translation of a 
Latin poem on St. Catherine ; but both the Dafne 
and the Arianna are omitted. The former has since 
appeared in torn. xvii. of Tarnaso Italiano. Both 
Crescimbeni and Tiraboschi consider Rinuccini as 
one of the first and happiest imitators of Anacreon in 
the Italian language; and in poesia melico, or melli- 
fluous poetry, says Tiraboschi, he is esteemed one 
of our best writers f. But it is to the invention, or 

• Poes. del Sig. Ottavio Rinuccini, Fir. 1623. 
t Crescimbeni, Delia Volg. Poes, lib. iii. Tiraboschi, Stor, della 
Poes. Ital. cap, vi. art. 70, 


rather perfection, of the melo-drama, which is now 
universally ascribed to him, that he owes his celebrity. 
*^ It is insisted on by many," says Sir John Hawkins, 
" that the musical drama, or opera, was invented by 
" Ottavio Rinuccini, a native of Florence; a man of X 
" wit, handsome in person, polite, eloquent, and a 
" very good poet. He considerably enriched the 
" Italian poetry with his verses, composed after the 
" manner of Anacreon, and other pieces, which were 
" set to music, and acted on the stage. His first com- 
" position of this kind, was a pastoral called Daphne^ 
" which being but an essay or attempt to introduce 
'* this species of musical entertainment into practice, 
" was performed only to a select and private audi- 
*' ence ; and the merit attributed to this piece encou- 
" raged him to write an opera called Enrydice. The "^ 
" music both to the pastoral. Daphne^ and the opera, 
" Eurydice, was composed by Jacopo Peri, who, on 
'' this occasion, is said to have been the inventor of 
" that well-known species of composition, recitative. 
" The Eurydice was represented on the theatre at Flo- 
" rence, in the year 16OO, upon occasion of the 
" marriage of Mary of Medicis with Henry IV. of ) 
^^ France. Rinuccini dedicated his opera to that '■^- 
*' queen, and in the following passage declares the 
'* sentiments he was taught to entertain of it by his 
" friend Peri." 

" It has been the opinion of many persons, most 
*^ excellent queen, that the ancient Greeks and Ro- 


" mans sung their tragedies throughout on the stage : 
" but so noble a manner of recitation has not, that I 
" know of, been even attempted by any one till now ; 
" and this I thought was owing to the defect of the 
" modern music, which is far inferior to the ancient ; 
" but Messer Jacopo Peri made me entirely alter my 
" opinion, when, upon hearing the intention of Messer 
** Giacomo Corsi and myself, he so elegantly set 
" to music the pastoral of Dafne, which I had com- 
" posed merely to make a trial of the power of vocal 
" music in our age; it pleased, to an incredible 
" degree, those few that heard it. From this I took 
" courage : the same piece being put into better 
" form, and represented anew in the house of Messer 
** Peri, was not only favoured by all the nobility of 
" the country, but heard and commended by the 
" most serene grand duchess, and the most illustrious 
A " cardinals dal Monte, and Montalto. But the 
" Eurydice has met with more favour and success, 
" being set to music by the same Peri, with won- 
" derful art ; and having been thought worthy to be 
" represented on the stage, by the bounty and mag- 
" nificence of the most serene grand duke, in the 
*' presence of your majesty, the cardinal legate, and 
" so many princes and gentlemen of Italy and France ; 
" from whence, beginning to find how well musical 
" representations of this kind were likely to be re- 
" ceived, I resolved to publish these two, to the end 
^* that others of greater abilities than myself, may be 


** induced to carry on, and improve this kind of 
" poetry to such a degree, that we may have na 
" occasion to envy those ancient pieces, which are so 
" much celebrated by noble writers*-" Modestly, 
however, as he concludes this dedication, he seems, 
like Milton, to have had *' a lofty and steady con- 
" iidence in himself." 

This may be inferred from the following passage in 
the prologue to L' Euridice, which is delivered by the 
tragic muse : 

Lungi via, lungi pur da regii tetti 
Simolacri funesti, ombre d' afFanni ! 
Ecco ! i niesli coturni, e i foschi paiini, 

Cangio, e desto nei cor piu dolci afFetti. 

Hor s' avverra, che le cangiate forme 
Non senza alto stupor ]a terra ammiri, 
Tal ch' ogni alma gentil cli' Appollo inspiri 

Del mio nuovo cammin calpesti 1' orme. 

Far, far be banisli'd from the royal sight 

Funereal forms and shadows of distress! 

Lo ! now the tragic buskin,' mournful dress, 
I change, and in the mind awake delight. 
Henceforth these forms shall wear another face, 

Not without wonder by the world beheld ; 

So that by Phoebus, noble souls irapell'd. 
Shall tread the new-found path which here I trace. 

The obligations which the admirers of the melo- 
drama have to Rinuccini, have been so fully set forth 

* Hist, of Mus: vol. iii. p. 426, 427. 


in the foregoing extract from Sir John Hawkins, that 
it is not necessary to expatiate further upon the sub- 
ject. But justice is due to Peri* and Caccini, for 
the share which they had in perfecting the happy in- 
vention. To Peri, the honour of composing the music 
for L' Euridice, and the Dafne, is assigned by Rinuc-, 
cini, whose authority may be considered as indis- 
putable ; yet Tiraboschi has preserved a letter from 
the Abate Grillo to Caccini, in which he ascribes to 
him the music to which the pastoral of Dafne was 
originally set. As this letter explains, in forcible 
language, the nature of the music with which the first 
operas were accompanied, an extract from it will, I 
presume, be acceptable to many of my readers. " Ella 
" e padre," says the abate, addressing Caccini, " di 
" una nuova manierc, o piuttosto di un cantar senza 
" canto, di un cantar senza recitativo, nobile e non 
" popolare, che non tronca, non mangia, non togli la 
" vita alle parole, non V affetto, anzi glielo accresce 
*' raddoppiando in loro spirito e forza. E dunque 
" invenzione sua questa bellissima maniere di canto, 
" o forse ella e nuovo ritrovatore di quella forma 
" antica perduta gi^ tanto tempo fa nel vario costume 
" d' infinite genti, e sepolta nell' antica caligine di 
" tanti secoli. 11 che mi si va piil confermando dopo 

* Bumey, Hist, of Mus. vol. iii. p. 18. Miisic, a poem, trans-^ 
latedfrom the Spanish of Yriarte. By John Bilfquu p. 99 — 


*^ V essersi recitate sotto cotal sua maniera la bella 
" pastorale del sig. Ottavio Rinuccini, nella quale 
" coloro, che stimano nella poesia drammatica e rap- 
" presentativa il coro essere ozioso, possono, per 
" quanto mi ha detto esso Signer Ottavio medesimo, 
** benissimo chiarirsi, a che se ne servivano gli antichi, 
" e di quanto rilievo sia in simile componimenti*/' 
Should it bethought that Grillo is not strictly correct 
in ascribing to Caccini the original music of the pas- 
toral of Dafne, (if his words will bear that interpre- 
tation), it may be presumed, that the success of Peri 
tempted Caccini to try his powers in this new species 
of music ; and, in the spirit of rivalship, he selected, 
for the experiment, a drama which had been originally 
set by Peri. 

We shall now offer a few remarks on the dramas 
which have been so often mentioned in the course of 
this narrative. 

In the conduct of the fable of L' Euridice, there are 
faults, which even the most indulgent critic can 
hardly pardon, or extenuate. No cause is assigned 
for the first appearance of Orpheus without his bride. 
He leaves her " fair side'' unguarded, and enters on 
the scene upbraiding Phoebus with driving his car 
with less velocity than usual. Such impatience, in a 
bridegroom, on his wedding-day, is natural enough ; 
but the poet does loo much violence to probability 

* Grillo, Lttt, torn, u p, 455. Ven, 1608. 


\vhen he detains Orpheus upon the stage for the mere 
purpose of hearing a few moral reflexions, which seem 
intended to prepare him, — or rather the audience, — for 
an account of the death of Eurydice. To the happy 
termination of the drama, the classical reader may 
object, as a deviation from the original fable : but 
the author justifies himself for this liberty, by saying, 
that the drama was exhibited at a time of jubilation; 
adding, that Sophocles, in his Ajax, had deviated from 
Homer in a similar manner. But there are beauties 
abundantly scattered through the piece, sufficient to 
compensate for all its faults. Of these we shall 
notice a few. The account of the death of Eurydice 
cannot be too highly praised. The description of 
Venus descending in her car, to bear away the sor- 
rowing lover, is exquisitely beautiful : and the pa- 
thetic eloquence of Orpheus, in addressing Pluto, is 
irresistible. — According to Arteaga, Rinuccini, in this 
opera, gave the first example of airs*. This is an 
error into which I cannot conceive how any one, who 
had even slightly inspected the drama, could fall. 
There is not a single air in the whole piece. The 
poet, in strict conformity with the practice of the 
Greek stage, wrote merely with a view to choral 
music, and musical declamation. And his Dafne 
was composed on the same plan. In this little drama, 
however, occasion is afforded for musical iteration. 

* Arteaga, Bev. del Teatto Mus, torn,, i. p. 259. 


While one of the nymphs who form the chorus, is 
expressing her fears in regard to a monster which 
infests the neighbouring woods, she is echoed by 
Apollo. Musical echoes prevailed upon the Italian 
stage at this period. This was probably not unknown 
to Milton, although he had not then visited Italy; 
and hence, it may be presumed, the song of Sweet 
Echo, in Comus. John Cooper, (or, as he was usually 
called, Giovanni Coperario), under whom Henry Lawes, 
who set that song, studied, had received his musical 
education in Italy*; and although Lawes affected to 
despise the Italian style, he sometimes imitated it. La 
Dafne, which gave birth to these reflexions, is a little 
pastoral drama, founded upon the well-known fable 
of Apollo and Daphne, which was so happily imi- 
tated, about the same time, by Waller. L' Arianna 
was written on the same plan, and probably with 
equal felicity ; for it was pompously exhibited, and 
much admired at the respective marriages of Cosmo II. 
duke of Florence, and of Franceso Gonzaga, son of 
the duke of Modcna. This drama has eluded my 

Having fully noticed the talents and accomplish- 
ments of Rinuccini, it now remains to speak of his 
moral character, upon the purity of which Sir John 
Hawkins seems unintentionally, but, perhaps, not 

* Todd, Milton's Poet. Works, vol. v. p. 204. Lond. 1801. 


unjustly, to reflect. " It is said of Rinuccini*/' ^e 
observes, " that he had a singular propensity to 
" amorous pursuits, but that his inclination for the 
" queen having been greatly mortified by her wisdom 
" and virtue, he was affected with a salutary shame, 
" became a penitent, and applied himself to exercises 
*' of devotion, which he continued during the re- 
** mainder of his life/* If Sir John assigns the true 
cause of his penitence, it may be ascribed to disap- 
pointment, and not to remorse; and has therefore, 
I fear, little claim to the praise of the rigid moralist : 
it is however to be hoped, that, as it appears to have 
been sincere, it was accepted. 

* Pinacoth. par. i. pag. 6. 


No. IL 


Galileo, descended from a noLle family of Flo- 
rence, was born at Pisa, on the 15th of February, 
1564. The legitimacy of his birth has been ques- 
tioned ; but as this attempt to sully the fair fame 
of his mother, Julia Ammanati, a noble lady of 
Tuscany, is supposed to have originated in the malice 
of his enemies, and has never been established, we 
shall treat it as a groundless report. Poetry, music, 
and drawing, were the favourite studies of his early 
youth ; but he soon relinquished these elegant pursuits, 
and applied himself to the cultivation of the sublimer 
sciences. It was the wish of his father, that he should 
devote himself to the study of medicine, in the hope, 

* In order to save the trouble of frequent reference, I shall 
enumerate, in this note, the authorities from which the materials, 
of which this sketch is chiefly composed, were drawn. — Landi, 
Hist, de la Litt. d'ltalie, lib. xxx. ar. 2. Bacon, Syl. Sylv» 
cent viii. It. Mag. art. xii. Todd, Poet. Works of John Milton, 
vol. i. Life, p. XXV. Lond. 1801. II Caffe di Milano, torn. ii. 
p. 17. Elog. degli Uom, illust. Tosc. torn. iii. p. 343 — 562. 
Fabbroni, Elog. d' alcuni illust, Italiani, Pisa, 1784. Voltaire, 
La Pucelle, ch. iii. 


which his talents seemed to warrant, that his success in 
this lucrative profession would enable him to repair 
the injured state of the family fortune; and with that 
view he was matriculated in the university of Pisa. 
But he soon became disgusted with the obscure and 
uncouth phraseology in which medical productions 
were then written, and turned his attention to geometry, 
in which he made a rapid progress, without the assist- 
ance of a master. His father, a man of learning and 
good sense*, soon perceived the imprudence of doing 
violence to his inclination, and wisely allowed him to 
foUovv the natural bent of his genius. In 1589, ^^ 
was appointed professor of mathematics in the uni- 
versity to which he belonged. Raised to this situa- 
tion, he felt his consequence ; and emancipating himself 
from the intellectual bondage of the schools, he began 
to advance and support propositions of a bold and 
novel nature. This, instead of conciliating esteem and 
admiration, excited jealousies, — and, perhaps, fears. 
He was considered at Pisa as an innovator, and a 
visionary; because, says INI. Landi, in that city, as 
well as elsewhere, on efoit peripateticien d bruler. 
Weary of the opposition he had now to endure, he 

♦'His father, according to Sir John Hawkins, was a noble 
Florentuie, named Vincentio Galilei, and author of a most learned 
and valuable work, entitled Dialogo della Musica antica et 
moderna, printed at Florence m 1581 and 1602 ; and also of a 
tract, entitled Discorso iiitorno aW Opere del Zerlino. Hist, of 
Mus. vol. i. p. 29. 


gladly accepted, in 1592, of an invitation to Padua, to 
fill the chair of professor of mathematics in the cele- 
brated university of that city. Here he remained 
eighteen years, esteemed and cherished by the Pa- 
duans and the Venetians. In the meanwhile, the pre- 
judices which had been raised or conceived against 
him in Pisa, gradually subsided. His fellow-citizens 
blushed at their unkind and illiberal treatment of him, 
and expressed a wish that he would forget their con- 
duct, and return. Resentment yielded to the love of 
country: and while he was meditating his return, 
Cosmo H., grand duke of Tuscany, appointed him 
professor of philosophy and mathematics in the uni- 
versity of Pisa, with liberty to choose his place of re- 
sidence. The patent confirming this appointment, 
so honourable to Cosmo and Galileo, is dated 5th 
June, l6lO. 

Availing himself of the leisure which his new ap- 
pointment afforded him, he resigned himself to philo- 
sophical and astronomical speculations. But the quiet 
of his philosophic retreat did not long remain un- 
disturbed. Approving of the Copernican system, he 
supported it. In his public lectures, and in his 
writings, he boldly asserted the stability of the sun, 
and the mobility of the earth. This was considered 
by some shallow theologians, as a direct contradic- 
tion to the words of Holy Writ, and they loudly 
accused him of heresy. One of them even disgraced 
the pulpit by a personal attack on him, choosing for 


his text the following passage from the New Testa- 
ment, which seemed to bear a quibbling allusion to 
the name of the object of his abuse, — Viri Galilei quid 
statis aspiciejttes in ccelum ?^ An alarm was now spread, 
which reached, at length, the Inquisition ; and Galileo 
was summoned to defend, or retract, his opinion, be- 
fore the dread tribunal of the Holy Office. Of this im- 
portant event in his life, he gives the following account, 
in a letter addressed to Vincenzo Reuieri, one of his 
disciples: " I had," says he, " from an early period 
** of my life, had it in contemplation to publish a 
" dialogue on the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems; 
" on which subject, from the time I first went as lec- 
*• turer to Padua, I had made continual philosophical 
" observations, principally induced by the idea I enter- 
" tained of being able to explain the flux and reflux 
" of the sea by the supposed motions of the earth. 
" Something of this nature was expressed by me, at 
" the time when I was honoured, at Padua, with the 
" attendance of Prince Gustavus of Sweden, who, 
" from his youth, had travelled incognito in Italy, 
" and settled for many months in that city with his 
" retinue. I had the good fortune to gain his esteem, 
" by my new speculations and curious problems, 
" Vi^hich were daily proposed and solved by me : at 
" that time also he wished me to teach him the 
" Tuscan language. My sentiments on the motion of 
^ the earth, soon after became publicly known at 
" Rome, from a tolerably long essay, addressed to 


" Cardinal Orsini. I then began to be openly accused 
'* as a rash and scandalous writer. After the publi- 
" cation of my dialogue, I was cited to Rome by the 
" Holy Office, where I arrived on February the 10th, 
" 1632, and surrendered myself to the clemency of 
" that tribunal, and the sovereign pontiff, Urban VIII., 
" who, notwithstanding all, deemed me worthy of his 
" esteem, though I was not skilled in writing epi- 
" grams, or amorous sonnets. I was confined in the 
" delicious palace of the Trinitk de' Monti, the resi- 
" dence of the Tuscan ambassadour. 

" The day after, the commissary, father Lancio, 
" came for me, and took me with him in a carriage. 
" On the road he put many questions to me, and 
" seemed very zealous that I should repair the scandal 
" which I had caused through Italy, by my senti- 
" ments on the motion of the earth. To all the solid 
" and mathematical reasons which I advanced in 
" support of my opinion, he replied, in the words of 
" Scripture, Terra autem in cetermim stahet, quia terra 
" autem in ceternum stabit. With this conversation we 
" at length arrived at the tribunal, situated to the west 
" of the magnificent church of St. Peter. I was im- 
" mediately conducted by the commissary to the 
*" judge, Monsignor Vitrici, with whom I found two 
" Dominicans. They civilly requested me to pro- 
" duce my reasons, in full congregation, for my opi- 
" nion ; assuring me I should be allowed ample time 
" for my defence, if I should be found guilty. The 


" Thursday following I was presented to the congre- 

" gation ; and there I brought forward my proofs. 

" Unfortunately for me, they were not understood; 

" and, notwithstanding all nly efforts, I had not ability 

" enough to convince my judges. The passage from 

" Scripture was repeatedly quoted against me. I 

" then recollected a scriptural argument, which I 

" advanced, but failed of success. I asserted, that 

" the expressions of the Bible on the subject of the 

" astronomical sciences, were used in conformity to 

" ancient notions and prejudices; and that probably 

" the passage adduced against me, was of a similar 

" nature with one in Job, xxxvii. 18, where it is said, 

" that the heavens were strong, and like a polished 

" mirror. This is said by Elihu ; and it appears that 

'' he spoke according to the system of Ptolemy, which 

" has been demonstrated to be absurd by modern phi- 

" losophy, and what may still more firmly be relied 

" on by sound reason. If, therefore, so much stress 

" be laid upon the staying of the sun by Joshua*, in 

* Paine, for the base purpose of invalidating the authority of 
Scripture, quotes, in the second part of The Age of Reason, the 
passage in question, from the book of Jos/iwa, ch. xi. v. 11, 12; 
and draws from it an inference in support of his position. Mr. 
Wakefield, in his learned and spirited Reply, makes no attempt 
to defend the passage upon the ground taken by Galileo before 
the Inquisition, but he offers a conjecture in regard to it, which, 
however ingenious it may be, would not, probably, have had 
more weight with that dread tribunal, than the solid arguments of 


" order to prove that the sun moves, equal weight 
" ought to be given to another passage, where it is 
" said, that heaven is composed of various heavens, 
'' like so many mirrors. The conclusion appeared to 
'' me to be just: notwithstanding this, it was entirely 
" overlooked ; and the only answer I received, was a 
" shrug of the shoulders, the constant refuge of those 
" who hold any opinion through prejudice, or the 
" force of authority. Finally, I was compelled, as a 
" good Catholic, to retract my opinion ; and my dia- 
" logue was prohibited, under heavy penalties. After 
" five months, I was dismissed from Rome, at the 
" time when Florence was ravaged by the plague; 
" and, with a generous compassion, the residence of 
" Monsignor Piccolomini, the dearest friend I had in 
" Siena, was assigned me as my prison. The elegant 
" conversation of this beloved friend I enjoyed with 
" so much tranquillity and satisfaction of mind, that 
*'• I soon recommenced my studies ; discovered and 
" demonstrated great part of my mechanical conclu- 

the persecuted philosopher. He does not, he sa^^s, believe that 
the sun and moon, either in the apparent, or philosophical 
acceptation of the phrase, actually stood still at the command of 
Joshua : he considers the passage as a poetical embellishment 
borrowed from the book of Jashir ; which, he supposes, was a 
collection of poetic songs, in celebration of the extraordinary 
achievements of the Israelitish armies. Mem. of the Life of 
Gilh. Wakefield, vol. ii. p. 31 . Lond. 1804. 


" sions on the residence of solid bodies, with some 
" other speculations. At the end of about five months, 
" the pestilence having ceased in my country, about 
" the beginning of December, l633, I was permitted 
" by his Holiness to change my confinement, for the 
" liberty of that country which I so much esteemed. 
" I returned then to the village of Bellosguardo, 
" whence I went to Arcetri, where at present 1 
" breathe that salubrious air in the vicinity of my 
" beloved Florence.'' I shall offer no apology for the 
length of this interesting epistle, as it serves to settle a 
long disputed point in regard to the imprisonment of 
Galileo. It shows that he was only confined, under 
an arrest, beneath the hospitable roofs of his friends in 
Florence, Rome, and Siena ; but never thrown into 
any of the prisons belonging to the Inquisition. Yet 
it has been thought that he was pining in the damp 
and gloom of a dungeon, when Milton visited him in 
1639 ; and Voltaire asserts, that he was mis en prison. 
It is probable that Milton found him in his villa at 
Arcetri : he was then blind, and worn down, as Gro- 
tius describes him, with age, persecutions, and infir- 
mities*; but he was perfectly free from all personal 

As it is not my intention to give a detailed life of 

* Senex is, optime de universo meritus, morbo fractus, insuper 
et animi jegritudine, haud raultum nobis vitae suae promittil ; 


Galileo, I shall only slightly notice his most remark- 
able inventions and discoveries, and then hasten to the 
close of this biographical sketch. 

The invention of the microscope, of the pendulum, 
of the thermometer, of the geometrical compasses, and 
of the hydrostatic balance, have been ascribed to 
Galileo. His claim to some of these inventions has 
been disputed, but the honour still remains with him. 
This, at least, seems to be the opinion of his disciple 
and biographer Viviani, and of the accurate and inde- 
fatigable Tiraboschi. It is true that the idea of the 
Pendulum struck Huygens and Galileo at the same 
time, and it carried into effect by both w^ithout 
any reciprocal communication, about the year l637. 
This was candidly admitted by Huygens. The clock, 
in which the pendulum was first employed, was made 
(l6'49) under the direction of Galileo's natural son, 
Vincenzo, by Marco Trefler, clock-maker to the grand 
duke*, Ferdinand II. Although Galileo published, 

quare prudentiae erit arripere tempus, dum tanto doctore uti licet. 
Grotii Epist. 964. 

Rinuccini, in a sonnet addressed to Galileo, alludes to his 
invention of the telescope. 

Spirto divin, deh se tant' alto arriva 
L' ammirabil virtu de* tuoi cristalli. 
Dim mi scorgi tu in ciel 1' alma mi a Diva ? 

* Lord Kaims admits that the idea of the pendulum was first 
conceived by Galileo ; but he erroneously gives to Huygens the 


in 1606, a treatise, entitled, " Le Operazioni del 
" Compasso Geometrico e Militare," the Germans dis- 
pute his title to the invention of the geometrical com- 
passes ; yet the proof upon which they ground theif 
claim, is an essay on the same subject by Horcher de 
Bencastel, which did not appear until (1607) the 
year following. Drebbel has vainly endeavoured to 
wrest from Galileo the honour of inventing the mi- 
croscope. But there are some grounds for believing, 
that, in regard to the telescope, the idea did not ori- 
ginate with him, but that he availed himself of some 
hints thrown out by other writers ; and, by great 
mental and mechanical exertion, brought the instru- 
ment to such a state of perfection, that, by its aid, he 
first discovered the rings of Saturn, the satellites of 
Jupiter, the solar spots, and other appearances in the 
heavens, which are familiar to the modern astro- 
nomer. Many of his inventions in mechanics, and in 
statics, are of the highest importance. His remarks 
on the wandering comets are not amongst the most 
happy of his literary productions. But he shed some 
light upon the obscure subject of gravitation, which 
illumined the mind of Sir Isaac Newton. His expla- 
nations and demonstrations of the famous problem of 

honour of first putting the idea into execution. " Galileo," says 
he, ♦' was the first who conceived an idea that a pendulum 
" might be useful for measuring time ; and Huygens was the 
" first who put the idea in execution,- by making a pendulum 
" clock." Shet. booh i. sh. 5, 


the longitude, are allowed to be very ingenious. Con- 
ceiving he had made the long-wished-for discovery, he 
applied (l6l5) for aid in his meditated experiments, 
to the court of Spain : but that court, with its usual 
tardiness and irresolution, allowed his application to 
remain so long unheeded, that his patience was ex- 
hausted. He then (163^) addressed himself, through 
the medium of Hugo Grotius, to the States of Holland. 
A proposition of so much importance to a commer- 
cial nation, was not likely to be treated with indif- 
ference by the Dutch. Accordingly a deputation 
was immediately dispatched to Galileo with a present 
of a collar of gold, and full powers to treat with him. 
But the deputies found the philosopher blind and 
infirm. He gratefully thanked them for the honour 
conferred upon him by the States, but magnani- 
mously declined the gift, as he had not, he thought, 
fully merited it. He was then in his rural retreat at 
Arcetri. Here he continued, surrounded with " ever- 
" during dark:" and here, oppressed with a weight 
of years and infirmities, he sunk into the grave in 
1641 ; the year in which Sir Isaac Newton, who was 
to perfect some of his inventions and illustrate many 
of his discoveries, was born. The concluding scene 
of his life is too interesting to be passed over in 
silence. When it was known in Florence that the 
hour of his dissolution was approaching, the grand 
duke, Ferdinando H., and his brother, the cardinal 
Leopold, hastened to Arcetri ; and, seating themselves 



beside the bed of the expiring philosopher, endea- 
voured to mitigate his sufferings by tender and sooth- 
ing attentions, — strengthened his confidence in the 
mercy of his Maker by pious exhortations, — and 
occasionally wiped the sweat of agony from his 
venerable brow. To his remains all due honours 
were paid: he was interred in the church of St. 
Croce, in Florence, opposite the tomb of Michel 
Agnolo, and an handsome monument was, soon after, 
erected to his memory, with a suitable inscription ; 
which may be found in Elog, degli Uom, illust. Tos- 
cam, torn. iii. p. 362. 

To the character of Galileo justice has been done 
by several writers of eminence. Sir Isaac Newton 
acknowledges many obligations to him. Hume ranks 
him above Bacon, both as a philosopher and as a 
writer. As a writer, indeed, he cannot be too much 
admired : his style is uncommonly rich and elegant, 
and his arrangement luminous. It is presumed that 
the richness of his style may be ascribed to his early 
study of the poets ; a study which he never totally 
abandoned. Nor did he, even in advanced life, 
neglect music, which he had studied under his 
father*. It was to him, as to his contemporary, 

* *' Of his father," says Sir John Hawkins, " who was an 
" admirable performer on the lute, he learned both the theory 
*• and practice of music ; in the latter whereof he is said to have 
** been such a proficient, as to be able to perform to a great 
♦' degree of excellence on a variety of instruments.'* Vol. i, p. 29, 


Milton, a relaxation after mental exertion, and a 
solace in blindness and in old age*. Deeply ab- 
sorbed in literary and scientific pursuits, he never 
sought the enjoyment of " wedded love;" but it 
appears that he was not, like Sir Isaac Newton, 
frigidly indifferent to the attractions of the softer sex, 
for he left a natural son, who is said to have inherited 
a considerable portion of the talents which rendered 
his father so illustrious. 

No. III. 


Chiabrera is his own biographerf. From his in- 
teresting, but desultory narrative, and the edition of 
his works printed at Venice, 1782, I have borrowed 
the chief materials of which the following sketch is 
composed ; occasionally, however, consulting, as I 
proceeded, Crescimbeni, Tiraboschi, and his other 

* See Haylexf, Life of Milton, p. 211. lond, 1796. 

t Oper. di Gabb. Chiabrera, Ven. 1782. To the first volume of 
this edition is prefixed. Vita di Gabb. Chiabrera, Da lui mede- 
timo scritta, — Tiraboschi, Stor, della Poes. ltd. torn. iii. cap. 7, 
Loud, 1 803. — Crescimbeniy Della 1st, della Volg, Poet, torn. u« 
p. 483. Fen. 1730. 


Gabbriello Chiabrera was born in Savona, on the . 
18th June, 1552, fifteen days after the death of his 
father. His mother, Gironima Murasana, of a respect- 
able family of the same city, was still young when 
Gabbriello was born. After a short widowhood, she 
married again, and committed the care of her infant 
son to Margherita and Giovanni Chiabrera, the sister 
and brother of • his father. When Gabbriello had 
reached his ninth year, Margherita took her young 
charge to Rome, and placed him under the care of her 
brother, who resided in that city. Giovanni, who had 
no children of his own, adopted him, and immediately 
employed a master to instruct him in the Latin lan- 
guage : but sickness interrupted his studies. He was 
seized with a fever, from which he was only slowly 
recovering, when he was attacked with another ma- 
lady of a still more malignant nature, which confined 
him seven months, and, ultimately, brought him to 
death's door. At length, however, he recovered; and 
his uncle, presuming that youthful society might pror 
mote the health of his interesting invalid, sent him to 
the college of the Jesuits. Here he rapidly recovered 
his health and strength, and occasionally attended the 
lectures delivered in that learned seminary, without, 
however, the usual restrictions of a student, until he 
had reached his twentieth year. His uncle dying, he 
went to Savona to visit his relatives, and, after a short 
stay, returned to Rome. Having occasion to treat 
with the Cardinal Cornaro Camerlingo about the sale 


of a garden, which had probably devolved to him 
from his uncle, he was induced to enter into the ser- 
vice of that prelate. In this service he continued 
some years, and might, perhaps, have continued 
much longer; but happening to get into a quarrel 
with a Roman gentleman, a rencontre ensued, which, 
it may be presumed, proved fatal to his adversary, for 
he was obliged to fly from Rome ; and ten years, he 
says, elapsed before he could obtain permission to re- 
turn to that city. Turning his flying steps to Savona, 
he passed the period of his exile amongst his relatives, 
and the friends of his early youth, devoting the whole 
of his leisure to study. Again the warmth of his 
temper led him into another quarrel, in which he was 
slightly wounded. He was not, he says, in fault on 
this occasion ; but he candidly acknowledges that his 
own hand avenged him, — la sua mano fece sue ven- 
dette, are his own words, speaking in the third person. 
With regard to the manner in which his revenge was 
satiated, he is silent ; but I fear, — greatly fear, — that 
through the veil of mystery which he throws over 
this, and the unfortunate affair, of a similar nature, 
which occurred at Rome, a bloody hand is discernible ; 
yet his conscience seems never to have reproached 
him. Flight, however, became necessary on this, as 
on the former occasion, and he remained many months 
in banishment. At length an accommodation took 
place ; all enmity ceased, or was smothered ; and He 
returned to his native city, where, he says, he enjoyed 


a long repose. He had now attained his fiftieth year, 
and began, naturally, to look to the enjoyment of do- 
mestic comfort during the remainder of his days. 
With this view he sought for a partner ; and Levilia 
Pavese was the object of his choice. Soon after his 
union with this lady had taken place, he learned that 
through the iniquity, or carelessness of his agent in 
Rome, he had lost his property in that city. The 
gulf of the law, he understood, had swallowed it 
up ; but, at length, with the assistance of the Cardinal 
Aldobrandini, it was recovered. Possessed now of an 
" elegant sufficiency," he was, he says, enabled to 
live, with his wife, at Savona, according to his wishes, 
•until he had passed his eightieth year ; but, he seems 
to add with a sigh, senza Jigliuoli, without children. 
From the time of the last fever he had in Rome, to the 
period to which he brings down his narrative, he 
never, he says, experienced an hour's sickness, except 
two short attacks of ague. And although deprived, by 
various accidents, of a considerable part of the large 
property to which he was entitled at his birth, and 
by the will of his uncle, he had yet enough remain- 
ing to procure for him and his wife all the comforts of 
life. He then adds, that he had a brother and a 
sister, who died before him. His brother, like him- 
self, was childless. Having thus rapidly sketched 
the general outline of his life, he proceeds to parti- 

During his early residence in Rome, he lived near 


the palace of Paolo Manuzio, in which the academy 
of the Umoristi was then established. Manuzio sought 
his acquaintance, and invited him to assist at the lite- 
rary meetings which were occasionally holden in his 
house. Here he formed a friendship with the learned 
M. A. Muretus*, and Sperone Speroni, whose public 
lectures he sedulously attended ; and in whose society, 
and under whose direction, his mental cultivation ra- 
pidly advanced. In the house of the latter he resided 
many years. Returning to his native city, he resigned 
himself to the study of poetry, particularly to that of 
Greece, taught, probably, by his learned friends in 
Rome, to consider the Greek poets as supreme in their 
art. Struck with the bold flights of Pindar, he was 
tempted to imitate him in his native language. Hav- 
ing sent some of his Pindaric essays to a friend in 
Florence, he was animated by his approbation to pro- 
ceed in his adventurous undertaking. Anacreon and 
Sappho then became his models. Of the happy suc- 
cess with which he followed these bright examples, 
his works afford abundant proof. Not content with 
merely imitating the bold flights and varied measure 
of the Greek poets, he determined to try an experi- 
ment on his vernacular tongue, and occasionally drop- 
ping the soft-sounding vowel at the end of his rhymes, 

* The interesting life of Muretus is detailed with elegance and 
minuteness by Dr. Irving, Mem. of Geo, Buchanan, Ed. 1807, 
p. 70 — 75. Of Speroni some account may be found in Hist, 
Mem. onjtal. Trag, Lond, 1799, p. 71, 


substituted in its place the harsh consonant ; — some- 
times, too, he composed Canzoni on the Greek model 
in Strophe and Epode, without the restriction of 
rhyme. In fact, he exercised a despotic sway over 
the language of Italy. " Like my countryman, Chris- 
** topher Columbus," says he, " I resolved to dis- 
" cover new worlds, or perish in the attempt*." — Be- 
fore we quit this subject, we shall notice his predi- 
lection for blank verse in narrative poems. Rhyme, 
as we have already observed, he did not always con- 
sider as " a necessary adjunct, or true ornament" of 
poetry ; and he was decidedly of opinion, that " the 
'* jingling sound of like endings'* is beneath the dig- 
nity of epic poetry. Accordingly he employed blank 
verse in L' Jmadeide, LaFirenze, II RuggierOy and other 
of; his epic poems. As some of these poems had been 
imparted by the press before Milton reached Italy, they 
had probably fallen into his hands, and determined 
him to make choice of " heroic verse without rhyme" 
in his epic productions f. I think with Mr. Hayley, 
that the dull poem of Trissino hardly tempted him to 
this experiment +: it is more probable that amongst 
the Italian poets ** of prime note," to whom he alludes, 

* He claims Columbus for Savona in a spirited poem> begin* 

Non perche umile, &c. 

t See the preface to Par. Lost, entitled. The Verse. 
i Life of Milton, p. 207. Lond, 


as sanctioning his choice by their practice, Chiabrera 
was included. As his death was recent, and his 
poetical name in high estimation when Milton tra- 
velled in Italy, the notice of the English bard would 
naturally be directed to his productions. 

From this digression, into which I was led by 
Chiabrera himself, I shall return to the narrative of 
his life. Having mentioned the turn which his stu- 
dies took on his retreat to Savona, and of the varisus 
experiments which he tried upon the poetical lan- 
guage of Italy, " by his skill made pliant," he pro- 
ceeds to relate, that during an excursion which he 
made to Florence, he was observed, while walking 
with some friends, by the grand duke, Ferdinand I. 
who immediately desired he might be called to him ; 
and, on his approach, received him most graciously. 
After a short conversation on indifferent subjects, the 
duke told him, that he wished to send the prince 
of Spain a dramatic poem for his gratification, — per 
dikttarloy — and requested he would write one for 
that purpose. With this requisition he promptly 
complied, and was remunerated by the duke with a 
gold chain, and a medal of the same metal ; and the 
dutchess, at the same time, presented him with a 
casket of odoriferous waters and restorative drops. 
He was then desired to assist in preparing the dra- 
matic representations to be exhibited on the approach- 
ing nuptials of Maria de' Medici, whose beauty he 
has celebrated in two canzoni, torn, i. canz. 4. and J p. 


It was on this occasion he wrote the dramatic pastoral 
of CefalOy which is thought, by some writers, to 
entitle the author to participate with Rinuccini the 
honour of inventing the opera; but in his sixteenth 
epitafFo, iom, ii. p. ISO, he assigns that honour to 
Rinuccini, without attempting to arrogate to himself 
any share in it. Of this pastoral, a French trans- 
lation, by Nicolas Chretien, appeared (16O8) a few 
years after, dedicated " au Dauphin." At a rehearsal 
of the music of the Cefalo, in the grand saloon of the 
palace Pitti, the duke, who had accompanied the 
dutchess, Maria de' Medici, and other noble per- 
sonages, observed Chiabrera standing with his head 
uncovered, — coUa testa scoperta, — and immediately 
desired that he might be covered and seated. After 
the festive exhibitions on occasion of the marriage 
were over, Chiabrera was, by order of the duke, libe- 
rally remunerated, without the imposition of any obli^ 
gation in regard to residence. Pursuing his narra- 
tive, regardless of chronological precision, he men- 
tions with pride, that Cosmo II., the son and suc- 
cessor of Ferdinand, happening to observe him during 
the rehearsal of a drama, which was exhibited on 
occasion of his nuptials with 

r eccelsa donna, onor dell' Austria, 

invited him to sit beside him; and adds, that, for 
above thirty years from that day, Cosmo continued to 
extend his patronage to him. This proud boast we 


again find in a. sermonCf or epistle, addressed to Ferdi- 
nando II. torn. ii. p. 252. In the poem to which we 
allude, he notices also his first interview with Ferdi- 
nand I., and the time when his acquaintance com- 
menced. — Flattered and gratified by the praises 
lavished upon the House of Savoy in the AmadeidCf 
Carlo Emmanuele invited the author to Turin ; and, 
at the same time, had it insinuated to him by Gio- 
vanni Botero, that, if he would enter into his service, 
he would assign him an honourable situation in his 
court. Having refused this offer, the duke presented 
him with a gold chain, and desired that a carriage, 
with four horses, should attend him on his return ; 
an honourable distinction, says he, which had only 
before been paid to the ambassadours of princes. After 
his departure from Turin, the duke opened a familiar 
correspondence with him, and generously defrayed the 
expense of every future visit to that city, establishing, 
for that purpose, a regular allowance of three hundred 
lire; although, says the grateful poet, the distance is 
only the short space of fifty miles. — When the nup- 
tials of the son of Vincenzo, duke of Mantua, were to 
be celebrated (16O8), Chiabrera was invited to that 
court to conduct the dramatic exhibitions. On this 
occasion he wrote the Intermedj for the Idropica of 
Guarini. With the attentions paid him in this court, 
he seems to have been much gratified. He not only, 
he says, resided in the ducal palace, and dined at the 
table of his patron ; but the duke honoured him with 


a seat in his carriage, took him to fish on the lake * 
in his own barge, and allowed him to converse with 
him covered, colla testa copertai; a privilege on 
which he always seems to set a very high value. 
Besides honourable distinctions, and flattering atten- 
tions on this occasion, it appears that he experienced 
afterwards many acts of munificence from the duke, 
and received frequent invitations to his court. When 
Matfeo Barbarini, with whom he had been acquainted 
from his youth, was raised to the papal chair, under 
the title of Urban VIII., Chiabrera waited on him, 
and was not only graciously received by the accom- 
plished pontiff, but presented with a liberal gift of 
small coin denominated agnus dei, un hacile pieno di 
agnus dei, and other solid proofs of his favour. The 
pope afterwards sent him a brief, inviting him to 
return to Rome. In this apostolic epistle Urban says, 
that although it was not customary to address a brief 

• The lake to which Chiabrera alludes, is " le lac superieur ; " 
which, according to De la Lande, " a 6 milles de long sur 
*' 800 toises environ." Voy. en Ital. torn. ix. p. 166. The city 
of Mantua stands in the midst of this lake. Its sedgy appear- 
ance is alluded to by Virgil, ^n. lib. x. 

t The privilege of which Chiabrera boasts, was a custom in 
some of the Italian courts. Mr. Wright, in his account of 
Reggio, which he visited in 1720, says, •* We had audience of 
" the duke (of Modena), at his palace within the castle. His 
*' highness received us playing his fan. After the first reverence, 
*' at his highness's command, we all put on our hats, (it is 
" the custom)." Trav. vol. i. p, 29. 


to any one but royal personages, or commanders who 
had distinguished themselves in defending the terri- 
tories of the church, he considered Gabbriello Chia- 
brera as not less deserving of the honour of that 
distinction for the pious purposes in which he em- 
ployed his muse, and for his exertions in rescuing 
lyric poetry from the vile thraldom of Bacchus and 
Venus. After bestowing some praise upon his moral 
conduct, he adverts to their early friendship, fNos 
non ohliti ceteris amicitiae, Src), and invites him to 
return to Rome. Having recited this flattering brief, 
Chiabrera mentions other favours bestowed upon him 
by Urban; not forgetting the present of a blessed 
candle on Candlemas-day, in the year l623, and a 
donation, on the same day, of some silver coin, which 
his holiness jocosely said he sent as an eleemosinary 
gift, presuming he was then performing a pilgri- 
mage, as he observed him on foot in the crowd that 
followed his carriage to S. Maria Maggiore. Two 
years after he had been so honourably noticed by the 
reigning pontiff, the flames of war spread into the ter- 
ritories of Genoa, and the senate of that republic sent 
a large body of troops to guard Savona. These 
troops, which were ordered to be quartered in dif- 
ferent parts of the city, were strictly forbidden to 
enter the house of Chiabrera, or to approach his 
rural retreat near the ruins of the church of S. Lucia. 
Having mentioned this instance of respectful attention 
from the government of Genoa, he hastens to the 


conclusion of his narrative. Wholly devoted to poetry, 
he chose for his device a lyre, with the following 
motto from Petrarca, Non ho se non quest* una. In 
travelling, he says, he always took much delight; and, 
accordingly, visited all the principal cities of Italy; 
but it was only in Florence and Genoa he usually 
made a long stay. When at Genoa he always 
resided in the palace of his dear friend Pier Guiseppe 
Giustiuiani, at Fossolo, a rural retreat, the pastoral 
beauties of which he extols in his twelfth epistle, and 
in the grotto of which he lays the scene of one of his 
dramatic poems. Over the door of the apartment 
which was appropriated to his use, his hospitable 
host had the following distich inscribed in marble : 

Intus agit Gabriel, sacram ne rumpe quietem. 
Dum strepis, ah ! periit, nil minus Iliade. 

Thus esteemed, honoured and cherished, Chiabrera 
reached the venerable age of eighty-six. In l637 he 
died, and his remains were deposited in the family 
chapel in the church of S. Giacomo, of Savona ; and 
the following epitaph, written by himself, was engraven 
on his tomb : 

lo vivendo cercava il conforto per lo monte Pamaso. 
Tu, meglio consigliato, fa di cercarlo sul monte Calvario. 

Many tributes of respect were offered to his me- 
mory . amongst these, the epitaph written by Urban 


VIII. holds a distinguished place. In this epitaph 
Urban takes occasion to notice the adventurous spirit 
of his departed friend. 

Metas, quas Vetustas Ingeniis 


Magni Concivis aemulus ausus transilire, 

Novos orbes poeticos invenit. 

His person, manners, and disposition, are thus 
described by Chiabrera himself. In stature he did not 
exceed the common size ; his complexion was dark ; 
his limbs were well turned ; in his eyes there was no 
apparent defect, but his sight was short; his dis- 
position was naturally gay, but his general deport- 
ment grave and thoughtful : his temper may be best 
described in the words of Shakspeare ; he carried 

anger as the flint bears fire. 

Which, much enforced, shows an hasty spark, 
Aiid strdght is cold again, 

In diet he was moderate; to wine he was not ad- 
dicted, but he loved variety of wines, and frequent 
change of glasses ; and from broken rest, or the occa- 
sional absence of sleep, his health always suffered. 
His piety, according to his own account, was exem- 
plary. Saint Lucia was the saint whom he selected 
as his advocate in heaven. To her he devoutly 
addressed himself twice in the course of every day, 
during the last sixty years of his life. And, amidst 


the ruins of a church dedicated to this saint, in the 
neighbourhood of Savona, he erected a suite of apart- 
ments, surrounded with a garden, to which he retired 
occasionally for the purpose of study, and to enjoy 
the enchanting view of the circumjacent country, 
and the tranquil bosom of the Mediterranean sea, 
which lay expanded before his windows. This deli- 
cious retreat is the scene of the dialogue between 
Gio. Vincenzo Vercellino, and Gio. Battista Forzano, 
in which a discourse, or critique, on a sonnet of 
Petrarca, is introduced, torn. iv. p. gj — 112. 

The fertility of the invention of Chiabrera was 
astonishing : no other poet, says Tiraboschi, has left 
us so many poems. In fact, besides innumerable 
smaller pieces, he bequeathed to posterity five epic 
poems; viz. La GotiadCj Ven. 1582; L* Amadeidcy 
Gew. 162O; La Firenze, Fir, 16 16; Jl Foresto, Gen, 
1656; and II RuggierOy Gen. These are not, 

however, numbered with the happiest effusions of 
his genius : Tiraboschi does not think that he suc- 
ceeded better than Pindar would iiave done, had he 
attempted an epic poem. Although he adopted blank 
verse, his style is deficient in epic dignity. The in- 
spiring mantle of Homer did not descend to him. His 
Amadeide, the subject of which is the deliverance of 
Rhodes from the assault of the Turk by Amadeus of 
Savoy, is, however, a fine poem, written upon the true 
ancient plan: and even the warmest admirers of 
Ariosto must allow, that he has, in his Ruggiero, 


completed the story of Logistilla with great felicity. 
In his pastorals there is much to admire : the lan- 
guage of his shepherds is appropriate, yet not vulgar: 
if, like Guarini, he " violates the truth of manners, 
" and the simplicity of nature," he " commands our 
" indulgence by the elaborate luxury of eloquence 
" and wit *." Although partial to the Grecian my- 
thology, he does not crowd his scenes with the gods of 
Greece, except, perhaps, in the Iride and the Cefalo : 
in the latter, indeed, he not only makes free with the 
Grecian mythology, but he employs the celestial 
signs to form a chorus. His tragedy of Erminia, though 
a drama of considerable merit, is enfeebled in its 
style, like his epic poems, by his lyric propensity. 
But in his Sermoni, or epistles, he is allowed to have 
imitated Horace with great success. Although defi- 
cient in the sweet simplicity, which is so much and 
so justly admired in the metrical romances of our 
early bards, the tale of Scio is extremely interesting f. 
But it is in his Canzonil that Chiabrera seems to have 
put forth all his strength. They breathe alternately 

* Gibbon, Misc. Works, vol. iii. p. 455. Dub. 1796. 

t The delicious scene of this poem is well described by 
Mr. Macgill, Trav. in Turkey, ^c. vol, i. lett. 4. The style of 
Chiabrera, in this little poem, might, perhaps, be compared to 
the conserve of roses, for which Scio is so remarkable. It is 
lusciously sweet. 

;): A version, nearly literal, of t\vo canzoni of Chiabrera, may 
be found in a very useful and well-conducted periodical pub- 
lication, The Poet. Reg. for 1801, p. 183—187. 


the very spirit of Pindar and Anacreon. The imagery 
with which they abound, is either magnificently rich, 
or sweetly gay, according to the nature of the subject 
upon which they turn. The measure often varies; 
and in every change we admire the skill, the taste, 
and the fancy of the poet. Whether he madly hurries 
along the chords, or slowly sweeps over the strings of 
his lyre, the hand of the master appears in every 

I cannot, in justice to the memory of Chiabrera, 
close this memoir without observing, that to his 
labours Italy is chiefly indebted for the entire abo- 
lition of the Marinesque school. 

No. IV. 


Battista Guarini was great grandson of the 
celebrated Battista Guarino of Verona*, and imme- 
diately descended from Francesco Guarini, and his 
wife, the Countess Orsola Macchiavelli. He was 
born in Ferrara in 1537. Of the masters under whom 
he was educated, no record remains ; but Tiraboschi 
supposes he commenced his studies in Pisa, pursued 

* For an account of Battista Guarino, see Shepherd, Life of 
Poggio Bracciolino, p, 94. 



them in Padua, and completed the course of his edu- 
cation in Ferrara *. In the university of the latter 
city he was many years professor of Moral Philo- 
sophy. In the twenty-sixth year of his age he com- 
menced his poetical career. This appears from a 
letter dated in 1S63, from Annibal Caro, in which 
he praises a sonnet which Guarini had sent him. 
Perhaps Tasso, who was his fellow-student in the 
university of Padua, and with whom he there formed 
a close intimacy, first led him into the flowery path of 
poesy. When he had reached his thirtieth year, he 
entered into the service of Alfonso II. duke of Fer- 
rara, whom, it is supposed, he shadows under the 
name of Egon in the Pastor Fido-f. 

Quivi il famoso Egon di lauro adorno 
Vidi : poi d' ostro, e di virtu pur serapre : 
Si che Febo sembrava : ond' io dev^oto 
Al suo nome sacrai la cetra, e '1 core. 

An. V. Sc, 1. 
There saw I that lov'd Egon, first with bays. 
With purple then, with virtue deck'd always : 
That he on earth Apollo's self did seem : 
Therefore my heart and harp I unto him 
Did consecrate, devoted to his name. 


* SM. Delia Foes. ltd. vol. iii. cap. 6. Land. 1803. 

t The passage, however, in which it is generally thought that 
Guarini describes Alfonso, seerhis more particularly to apply to 
the Cardinal Scipione Gonzaga, the friend of his early youth, and 
a favoured votary of the Muses. This is the opinion of the 


In I5€7i Guariiii was sent by his patron to com- 
l^iment Pier Loredano, the new doge of Venice, on 
bis election. The oration which he delivered on this 
occasion, was soon after printed, and made a favour- 
able impr^sion upon the public mind in regard to the 
rhetorical powers of the orator. Pleased with the 
manner in which he acquitted himself in the mission 
to Venice, Alfonso, having first invested him with the 
order of knighthood*, employed him on other em- 
bassies to the duke of Savoy, the Emperor Maxi- 
iteiliaa, and, latterly, to Henry, duke of Anjou, when, 

auaotator on the edition «f tiie Pa$tor Ftio, printed at Venice, 
1602 : all edition, in the iihistratioii of which, 1 am inclined to 
think, Guarimi himself assisted, as he announced its appearance in 
one of the publications in which he defended his pastoral drama, 
la the note (p. 197) to which I refer, it is said that Scipione 
" (u. di saague, di costurai, e di lettere nobilissimo, e finalraente 
'* eiletto cardinale da Gregorio XIII.'* It is supposed that 
Guarini alludes to the latter circiiarastaace when he says, he was 
adoraed *' <i' ostro ; "—a word, however, which would apply to the 
dress of a prince, as well as to that of a cardinal. But his d^m 
to the laKro, or laurel, is more decided, as he ** fu scrittor leggia- 
^ drissirao," Scipione and our author were fellow-students at 

* This was not the only order with which he was invested : 
Henry IV. of France, of whom he was an enthusiastic admirer, 
(vid. Lettere, Ven. 1599, p. 84 — 88.) presented him with the 
great collar of his own order of St. Michael ; an order which was 
held in the highest estimation at the court of France. The 
grand duke of Tuscany offered him the cross of St. Stephen ; 
4>ut he refused it out of respect to his native prince. 


with the reluctant consent of his mother, the infamous 
Catherine de' Medici, he was raised to the throne 
of Poland. On his arrival in Cracow, Gearini 
turned his attention to the political state of that coun- 
try, then distracted by factions. In a letter to the 
Cardinal Mandovi, dated 25th September, 1574, 
" from the kingdom of Poland, or rather of Boreas,^' 
to borrow his own words, he mentions the dissatis- 
faction of the people, in regard to the king who had 
been imposed upon them, and gives it as bis decided 
opinion, that they would prefer a sovereign of the re- 
formed religion, to a Catholic king*. Indeed it ap- 
pears from Mezarai, that the Calvinists, who formed 
a powerful faction, had so far prevailed, that they had 
obliged the French ambassadours, who had been sent 
to negotiate the election of the duke, to promise them 
several conditions in favour of their religion f. Gua- 
rini further informs the cardinal, that he was then 
preparing for his inspection, a brief view of the 
natural and political state of the country, and of the 
customs and manners of the people. In a letter ad- 
dressed in the course of the same month to the bishop 
of Reggio, he communicates, in part, the result of his 

* This predilection for a Protestant sovereign, combined with 
other circumstances, may account for the offer which was made 
Sir Philip Sidney of the crown of Poland. See Dr. Zouch's 
interesting Mem. of the Life and Writings of Sir^Philip Sidney, 
p. 230. York, 1808. 

t Hist, of France, p, 725. Land. 1683. 


inquiries. " The form of the government," says he,/ 
" is a species of republic, not unlike that of Sparta, 
" but, in my opinion, better. The nobles," he con- 
tinues, " are eloquent in the senate, and valiant in the 
" field." And he adds, that " the first honours of 
" the state are, invariably, the meed of merit." 

When Henry abandoned the sovereignty of Poland, 
to ascend the throne of France, Guarini was again 
sent to the former kingdom to promote the views of 
Alfonso on the vacant throne : but all his eloquence, 
and all his " politic arts,'' failed in attaining the 
object of his embassy. In a letter to his wife, dated 
in November, 1575, from Warsaw, he gives a most 
interesting account of his journey, and of all the perils 
which he encountered on the road. A fever, occa- 
sioned by the fatigues he endured, then confined him 
to bed, and obliged him to employ another hand to write 
to her. As he considered his life in danger from the 
unskilful treatment of a physician, who had attended 
him in Vienna, he endeavours to prepare her mind for 
the event which he apprehended, and pathetically ex- 
horts her to take care of his children. " I earnestly 
" recommend to you," says he, " our dear children. 
" If I should die, it will be necessary that you should 
<^ not only be a mother to them, but supply the place 
« of a father." 

Although this mission had not been attended with 
success, the duke was, however, so well satisfied with 
the conduct of Guarini on the difficult and delicate 


occasion, that he not only still continued him in his 
service, at least employed him occasionally, but, in 
December 1585, appointed him his secretary of state. 
A few months previous to this appointment, the Pastor 
Fido was gotten up, (to use a theatrical term), with 
great magnificence in the court of Turin, where it 
was publicly represented, for the first time, on occa- 
sion of the marriage of Carlo, duke of Savoy, with 
Catherine of Austria. In the November following, 
Carlo sent the author a present of a collar of gold, of 
which he acknowledges the receipt in a letter from 
Padua, adding, perhaps rather quaintly, " I presume 
" your highness means to express by the noble nature 
" of the metal {la nohilta del metallo) of which the 
" chain with which you seem willing to bind me, is 
" composed, that you reduce to slavery, not only the 
" body, but the mind, with that noble and natural 
** violence, which is alone exercised by such true and 
" magnanimous princes as yourself/' 

Here we shall take occasion to observe, that it is 
asserted, both by Sir Richard Fanshawe and by 
Gibbon, that Guarini was in the service of the duke 
of Savoy when the Pastor Fido was first represented 
in Turin ; but I have not been able to discover the 
grounds upon which this assertion is founded. Nor 
am I prepared either to affirm, or deny, that the 
author was even present at the representation : indeed 
I am rather inclined to think, that after the piece had 


been revised by his friends, and rehearsed at Ferrara, 
the manuscript was sent to Turin by Guarini, as he 
acknowledges the receipt of the duke's liberal remu- 
neration from Padua shortly after the public repre- 
sentation in the court of Savoy had taken place. In 
speaking of this drama, Gibbon says, " the retreat of 
" the author from the service of his native prince, has 
^^ bestowed on Turin the honour of the first public 
" representation*." This statement is only true in 
part, for the appointment of Guarini to the office of 
secretary to his native prince, occurred, as has been 
just observed, some months subsequent to the repre- 
sentation of the Pastor Fido at Turin. Into this 
error Gibbon might have been led by Fanshawe, who 
says, that in his pastoral drama Guarini made " a 
" dernier effort, or general muster of the whole forces 
" of his wit, before his princely master, the then duke 
" of Savoy f.'^ But this is no apology for Gibbon. 
As an historian, it was his duty to have investigated 
the fact; particularly as the accuracy of Fanshawe 
might have been suspected from the circumstance of 
his having, in the dedication to Charles, Prince of 
Wales, from which the foregohig passage is drawn, 
fallen into another error in regard to an important 
character in the drama. He says, that the author, 

» Miscel. Works of Ed. Gibbon. Dub. 1796, vol. iii. p. 455. 
t See Ded, p the Faithful Shepherd. Lond. 1676. 


** having grown unprofitably grey in travel, uni- 
" versities, and courts, personates himself under the 
" name of Carino/' This is positively denied by 
Guarini himself, in a letter to his friend Luigi Zenobia 
(dated from Guarina in 1590), who had conceived the 
same idea*. His time, previous to the period under 
consideration, might, it is true, have passed unpro- 
fitably, and he might also have experienced disap- 
pointments, which led to the severe reflexions upon 
courts which are uttered, (att. v. sc. 1.) in a querulous 
strain, by Carino ; but it cannot be said that he had 
arrived at the hoary age ascribed to him by Fanshawe, 
for he was only in his forty-eighth year when the Pastor 
Fido was first publicly represented; an age which 
cannot be strictly denominated hoary f. Nor can I 
find, that during the interval which intervened between 
his withdrawing from the university of Ferrara in 
1567, to 1585, he had ever totally abandoned the 
service of his native prince, although he was only 
occasionally employed by him on diplomatic, or other 
important occasions. In 1582, indeed, it would seem, 
that in consequence of some misunderstanding be- 
tween him and the duke, he had retired, for awhile, to 
his villa of Guarina, where he had lived in philosophic 

* Lett, Ven. 1599, p. 161. 

t Walton, in his Life of Sir Henry Wotton, falls into the same 
error respecting the age of Guarini, when he wrote thie Pastor 
Fido. See Dr. Zouch's edition of The Lives of Dr. John Donne, 
Sir Henry Wotton, ^c. York, 1807, p. 108, 


retirement, waiting, to borrow his own words, "Jinch^ 
" piaccia alia divina bontd di mostrarmi alcun raggio 
" di pill tranqilla, e piU serena fortuna, e lascerommi 
" guidare senza mctterci granfatto cosa del mio, e sard 
" forse prudenza il viver d, caso *." But he had not 
to wait long. His pious resignation to the will of 
Heaven was rewarded. He was restored to favour: 
and in 1585 he obtained, as has been already related, 
the honourable and lucrative situation of secretary of 
state to the duke. 

But he had not enjoyed this situation quite two 
years, when his restless disposition, or, perhaps, his 
unhappy temper, prompted him to demand his dis- 
mission. The reason assigned in the diary of his 
nephew, Batista, for this hasty resolution, is not very 
satisfactory: " Conceiving," says he, " that he ac- 
" quired little credit from his ofiice, he, out of respect 
" to his character, withdrew." Such was the abrupt- 
ness and secrecy of his flight, that apprehensions were 
entertained of his mental sanity. Indeed his conduct 
in Ferrara sometimes savoured of that kind of mental 
derangement which the Italians denominate strava- 
ganza. Jealous of the growing fame of Tasso, and of 
the favour which he enjoyed in the court of Alfonso, 
he betrayed symptoms of discontent, which strongly 
manifested themselves in acrimonious reflexions on 
the epic bard, and in parodies of favourite passages in 

* Lett. Fen. 1599, p. 70. 


his poems*. Rivals in literature, they became rivals 
in love. A lady, whose name is not mentioned, hap- 
pened, unfortunately, to gain the affections of both 
poets. As jealousy sometimes degenerates into abuse, 
Tasso wrote a sonnet, in which he cautioned the lady 
against the arts of a person so remarkable for incon- 
stancy as Guarini. To this the offended poet replied 
in another sonnet, in which he retorted the charge on 
Tasso, alluding, at the same time, to his aspiring pas- 
sion, and expressing surprise that it should be pa- 
tiently endured by the duke f. It is, however, much 
to the honour of Guarini, that the jealousy which 
displayed itself on this occasion, did not rankle in his 
breast ; he still retained his esteem for Tasso ; and not 
only lamented his death in feeling terms in a letter to 
Sig. Albani I, but assisted afterwards in preparing for 
the press, some of his productions which had fallen 
into the hands of careless, or unskilful printers |(. 

It is recorded in the diary to which we have just 
referred, that, disgusted with the conduct of the duke, 
he withdrew (1588) to Florence, and, through the 
medium of a friend, again demanded his dismission. 

* In a note on II Pastor Fido, Ven. 1602, p. 191, an apologj 
seems to be offered for one of the parodies alluded to in the text* 
This apology was probably written by Guarini himself. See 
note p. 260. 

t See Serassi, Vita del Tasso, p. 235. Rom. 1785. 

I Lett. Ven. 1599. p. 174. 

\\ Serassi, Vita del Tasso, p. 301. Rom. 1785. 


In the following year he went to Venice, where he 
wrote a justification of his motive for retiring from 
Ferrara, which was industriously circulated in manu- 
script, but which did not reach the press, until a copy 
fell, accidentally, into the hands of Tiraboschi, and 
was inserted by him in Storia della Poesia Italiana *. 
But although he attempted to justify his conduct to 
the public, it is probable he could never reconcile it 
to himself. This may be inferred from the following 
passage in the Pastor FidOy where, speaking of the 
court of Egon, he says, 

E 'n quella parte, ove la gloria alberga 
Ben mi dovea bastar d' esser homai 
Giunto a quel segno, ou aspiro il raio core. 
Se come il ciel mi feo felice in terra, 
Cosi conoscitor, cosi custode 
Di mia felicita fatto m' havesse. 
Come poi per veder Argo, e Micene 
Lasciasa Elide, e Pisa, &c. 

Att. V. sc. 1. 

In his house (which was the house of Fame) 
I should have set up my perpetual rest. 
There to admire and imitate the best j 
If, as Heav'n made me happy here below. 
So it had giv'n me too the grace to know 
And keep my happiness. How I forsook 
Elis and Pisa after, and betook 
Myself to Argo and Micene, &c. 


* Vol. iii. cap, 6. Lond» 1803. 


In recalling to mind the imprudence of his conduct on 
this occasion, the reflexion was probably embittered 
by the recollection of some attending circumstances, 
which strongly evinced the high estimation in which 
his talents were held by the duke. For, unwilling to 
relinquish the services of so valuable an officer, 
Alfonso not only reluctantly acceded to his requisition, 
but secretly impeded his advancement in the other 
Italian courts. In 1592, however, through the medi- 
ation of the dutchess, he was restored to favour, and 
returned to Ferrara, to the satisfaction of the whole 
city, says his nephew. During his absence from 
Ferrara, he visited successively the courts of Savoy 
and Mantua, — or, to borrow his own words, expressed 
in covert language, he forsook Elis, 

•per veder Argo e Micene — 

with a view to an establishment in either of those 
courts : bat as it was known he had obtained a re- 
luctant dismission from the duke, it is probable that, 
from a point of delicacy, his services were declined. 
Indeed there are grounds for supposing, that his views 
were sometimes defeated by the interference of Alfonso. 
It is thought that it was he who prevented him from 
being appointed Rlformatore dello Studio, with the 
rank of privy counsellor, in the court of Turin : and 
a letter is still extant, in which Alfonso cautions the 
duke of Mantua against takinn anv of the Guarini 

270 APPENDi:^:. 

family into his service, for reasons which he promisesF 
to explain, when he and the duke should meet*. 

After the death of Alfonso, and the disgraceful 
relinquishment of Ferrara, by Don Caesar, to the Holy 
See, Guarini retired to Florence, where he was honour- 
ably received by the grand duke, Ferdinand II. who 
immediately took him into his service. On this event 
he was congratulated by the unfortunate Don Caesar, 
to whose recommendation he probably owed his pro- 
motion; for C^sar omitted no opportunity of serving 
him; and, as Ferdinand was his brother-in-law, he had, 
it may be presumed, some influence in the court of 
Florence. While Guarini was a retainer in that 
court, his son Guarino married a woman of obscure 
parentage. Fancying that the grand dake had con- 
sented to, or promoted, this unequal union, he took 
offence, and abruptly quitting Florence, retired to 
Urbino. Here his reception was as warm and as 
flattering as he could wish. In a letter to his sister, 
dated Pesaro, 23d February, l603, he says, " I have 
" much occasion and great desire to visit you ; but 
" I am so honourably distinguished, and so kindly 
" treated by my new master, that I cannot prevail on 
'• myself to quit his court. I have the pleasure to 
" tell you, that all my personal expenses, and those 
" of my household, are defrayed. So that I have 
" not occasion to expend a farthing in the purchase 

* Storia ddla Poesia, vol iii. cap. 6. Loird. 1803. 


" of common necessaries. And, besides an unlimited 
" order for any money I may have occasion for, I 
" have an established annual income of three hun- 
" dred crowns. In fact, I can safely estimate my 
" present situation, including my house furnished, 
" and provided with every necessary, at six hundred 
" crowns per annum. You can now judge whether 
"/or not I should leave this court." At length, how- 
ever, he became dissatisfied. Presuming, perhaps, too 
much on the kindness of the duke, he formed expec- 
tations which were not fully answered. Disappointed, 
and wounded in his pride, he demanded his dismis- 
sion, and hastily retreated (l605) to Ferrara, where he 
found a cardinal legate surrounded with priests, occu- 
pying the palace which was once the splendid abode 
of the munificent family of Este, — once the resort of 
the cigni sfortunati, with whom he was now numbered. 
But although he had too much reason to exclaim, 

Oggi e fatta (o secolo inumano !) 
L' arte del poetar troppo infelice. 

Att V. sc. 1. 

In this age (inhuman age the while !) 
The art of poetry is made too vile. 

Fan SH AWE. 

His regret at the degraded state of his native city, 
must have been mitigated by the warm reception 
which he experienced from his fellow-citizens, and 
the flattering distinctions with which they honoured 


liim. " II se retira en/In dans sa patrie" says Bayle, 
" oil on le consuUoit comme un oracle touchant les 
" moyens de pacifier I'ltalie." Leo XT. having died, 
after the short reign of twenty-five days, Guarini was 
sent by the magistrates of Ferrara to compliment 
Paul V. on his accession to the papal chair. With 
this embassy he closed his political life: and soon 
after he quitted his native city, — never to return ! 

Tiraboschi admits that the instability of Guarini's 
conduct, which so often appears in the course of this 
narrative, may be partly attributed to the inconstancy 
and intrigues of courts, and partly to the irritability 
of his temper: but he acknowledges that domestic 
afflictions and vexations had a share in souring his 
temper, and in rendering him restless. The death of 
his wife, whom he tenderly loved, in 1591, gave the 
first deep wound to his domestic happiness. " I 
" have lost," says he in a letter to Cardinal Scipione 
Gonzaga on this melancholy occasion, " the half of 
myself, — la meta di me stessoj* Towards the close of 
his life, he was involved in law-suits, first with his 
father-in-law, and afterwards with his own sons. Led 
by th© suits, in which he was still engaged, to Venice, 
he there sickened, and there. 

Poor wearied pligrim, in this toiling scene ! * 

he at length found rest, towards the close of the year 

* Charlotte Smith. 


1612, in the peaceful mansion of the tomb. In the 
following year an eloquent oration was pronounced, 
by Scipione Buonanni, in the academy of the Umoristi 
of Rome, in lode del C&valiere Battista Guarini. It is 
the opinion of Crescimbeni, that " colla sua morte si 
" estinsero quasi affatto i pochi avanzi del secolo d'oro 
" della ?iostra poesia */^ 

Although Guarini denied that he personated him- 
self under the name of Carino ; yet there are traits in 
both characters, which bear a strong resemblance to 
each other t. These traits were, probably, the finish- 
ing touches given to the character of Carino, on pre- 
paring the drama for publication some years after its 
first representation. In Carino's reply to Uranio in 
att. V. sc. 1. we seem clearly to recognise the erratic 

Ura, Ma qual fu la cagion, che fe lasciarti 

Se t' e SI caro, il tuo natio paese ? 
Car. Musico spirto in giovanil vaghezza, 

D' acquistar fama, oV e piu chiaro il grido ; 

* Tom., ii. p. 478. Crescimbeni refers the death of Guarini to 
1613 ; Tiraboschi places this event under the year 1612, in the 
month of October. I have followed the latter in the text, 

t This resemblance is remarked bj the annotator upon the 
edition of the Pastor Fido, printed at Venice, 1602, p. 197, 
Perhaps Guarini did not wish to have it thought that the cha- 
racter of Carino was " un ritratto di se medesimo," lest some of 
the covert allusions which have been noticed should be mali- 
ciously appliedj, and thus create hira enemies, 


Ch* avido anch' io di peregrina gloria, 
Sdegnai, che sola mi lodasse, e sola 
M' udisse Arcadia, la mia terra ; quasi 
Del mio crescente stil termine angusto, 
E cola venni, ov' e si chiaro il nome 
D' Elide, e Pisa, &c. 

Ura. But what at first could make thee to forego 
Thy native countr3r, if thou lov'st it so? 

Car. A love to poetry, and to the loud 

Music of Fame resounding in a crowd. 
For I myself (greedy of foreign praise) 
Disdaiu'd Arcadia only should my lays 
Hear and applaud ; as if my native soil 
Were narrow limits to my growing style. 
I went to Elis, and to Pisa then, &c. 


It was probably in some of his wanderings, and in a 
moment of regret or dissatisfaction at having aban- 
doned his native home, that he wrote the beautiful 
sonnet, beginning 

Qual peregrin, cui duro esilio afPrene, 
Fuor del caro natio suo nido spinto, &c. 

which has been imitated with great felicity, in the 
English song, 

Why will Florella, while I gaze*. 

* As the reader may be gratified by having an opportunity of 
comparing the two exquisite little poems mentioned in the text, I 


If we find something to blame in Guarini as a man, 
as a writer he is entitled to our highest admiration. 

shall insert both here. The last stanza of the English song is a 
decided imitation of the chiusa of the Italian sonnet ; and I cer- 
tainly think with Dr. Aikin, (^Ess, on Song-writing, p, 203. 
Dub. 1777), that " there cannot be a more complete instance of 
'* fine taste and elegant simplicity in the management of a witty 
" conception.'* 


Qual peregrin, cui duro esilio aiFrene, 
Fuor del caro natio suo nido spinto» 
La, dove d' arrai, e di pauro cinto, 
Cerco gran tempo inabitate arene ? 

Quel caro nido a riveder ne viene 
Dal desio, dalla speme il timor vinto ; 
Ove poi scorto, e di man cruda avvinto, 
Ahi, che strazi, ahi, che raorte al fin sostiene ! 

Tal io, poich' ira, e di malvagia sorte, 
E di donna crudel, mi tiene in bando 
Dal dolce sguardo, ond '1 mio cor gia visse. 

Pur tomo a lei, di sua pieta sperando, 

A lei, che in fronte il mio tormento scrisse, 
E so ben che '1 desio mi sprona a morte. 


Why will Florella, while I gaze. 

My ravish'd eyes reprove. 
And chide them from the only face 

They can behold with love ? 


His wit was poignant, his imagination lively, his in- 
vention fertile and happy, his language pure, and his 
versification harmonious. Infected by the prevailing 
taste, he abounds, perhaps, too much in points and 
epigraramatical turns ; and his pastoral drama has, 
therefore, been termed a string of madrigals, — una 
Jilza di madrigali. Even his friend, the Cardinal 
Scipione Gonzaga, seems to pass a censure upon it in 
the disguise of a compliment, comparing it to a feast 
where nothing is to be found but sugar and honey. 
" Certo," says he, " se objettione alcuna si puo dar 
" h questa opera maravigliosa, e 1' esser troppo bella, 
" in quella guisa appunto, che altri potrebbe reprender 
" un convito, dove non fossero altre vivande che di 
" zucchero e di mele.'' Still the Pastor Fido must 
be considered as the glory of the age in which it was 

To shun your scorn and ease my care, 
I'll seek a nyraph more kind, 

And, while I rove from fair to fair. 
Still gentler usage find. 

But ah ! how faint is every joy 
Where nature has no part ? 

New beauties ma}' ray eyes employ. 
But you engage my heart. 

So restless exiles, doom'd to roam. 

Meet pity every where ; 
Yet languish for their native home, 

Tho' death attends them there. 


produced. Yet Guarini did not wish to be remem- 
bered merely as a poet ; his ambition was to be ac- 
counted a statesman and a profound politician. To 
the attainment of this object he sacrificed his peace. 
Had he resisted the allurements of the splendid court 
of Alfonso, and remained beneath the shelter of the 
academic shade, he might have been protected, (to 
speak figuratively) from many of the ills and vexa- 
tions of life, by the laurels that would have flourished 
around him. He would not then have had to 

Che perdei 1' opra, e* 1 frutto : 

Scrissi, piansi, cantai, arsi, gelai, 
Corsi, stetti, sostenni, or tristo, or lieto. 
Or alto, or basso, or vilipeso, or caro. 
E come il ferro Delfico stromento, 
Or d' impresa sublime, or d' opra vile, 
Non temei risco, non schivai fatica. 
Tutto fei, nulla fui ; per cangiar loco, 
Stato, vita, pensier, costumi, e pelo, 
Mai non cangiai fortuna ; al fin couobbi, 
£ sospirai la liberta primiera. 

Atto. V. Sc. 1. 

Only thus much know, 

I lost my labour, and in sand did sow : 

I writ, wept, sung, hot and cold fits I had ; 

I rid, I stood, I bore, now sad, now glad. 

Now high, now low, now in esteem, now scorn'd j 

And as the Delphic iron, which is turn'd 

Now to heroic, now mechanic use, 

I fear'd no danger, did no pains refuse. 


Was all things, and was nothing ; chaug'd my hair. 
Condition, custom, thoughts, and life ; but ne'er 
Could change my fortune. Then 1 knew at last. 
And panted after my sweet freedom past. 


Besides the Pastor Fido, the following works of 
Guarini are registered in Bibliofeca delV Eloquenza 
Italiana, Ven. 1753 : 

II Verrato, ovvero difesa di quanta ha scritto 
M. Giason de Nores contra le Tragicomedie, e h 
Pastorale. In two parts. The first part in Ferrara, 
1588. The second part in Firenza, 1593. 

II Segretarioy Ven, l600. 

L' Idropica, Few. l6l3. A copy of this comedy, 
which the author sent to the duke of Mantua in 1583, 
having miscarried, he thought it necessary to estabHsh 
his claim to it, as he understood another comic 
writer had borrowed the subject without acknowledg- 
ment. Accordingly he sent an analysis of the fable 
to Niccolo Pinizzari of Ferrara, in 1593. Vid. Lett, 
p. 71 • Ven. l6l5. In Oper. di Gab. Chiabrerat 
Ven. 1782, torn. iv. p. 70 — 95, may be found the 
Intermedj alia Idropica del Cav. G.B. Guarini, con la 
loro descrizione. This comedy was written in l608, 
on occasion of the marriage of Francesco Gonzaga 
with the Infante Margarita of Savoy. On this occa- 
sion, Guarini, Rinuccini, and Chiabrera, were invited 
to Mantua, and all their powers were employed in ce- 
lebrating the nuptials. 


Lettere, Ven. 1615. This is the best edition of 
these excellent letters, which are extremely valuable, 
not only on account of the light which they throw 
upon the private history of Guarini, but for the poli- 
tical and literary information, and the many judicious 
and critical remarks with which they abound. 

An enumeration of the several editions of the Pastor 
FidOy which have appeared in Italy, and elsewhere, 
would be impossible; and if it were possible, would be 
tedious. I shall, therefore, merely observe, that the 
first edition was published in Venice, 1590; and the 
best in the same city in l602. With a few re- 
marks on this celebrated drama I shall close this 
biographical sketch. 

Johnson, whose cold, rough mind was incapable of 
enjoying elegant simplicity, observes, in speaking of 
the Dione of Gay, a feeble and neglected pastoral 
in five tedious acts : " Diotie is a counterpart to Aminta 
" and Pastor Fido, and other trifles of the same kind; 
" easily imitated, and unworthy of imitation*." Had 

* Lett. p. 51. Boccalini denominates the Pastor Fido, a 
delicate perfumed tart, una odorif'era e beliissima torta, and 
makes it the subject of a pleasant incident in his Ragg. di 
Parn, cent. 1. ragg. 31. Bayle considers it as a work of danger- 
ous tendency : " II y a exprime si vivement les mysteres de I'a- 
" mour, qu'on pretend qu'il a ete cause que I'honneur de plusieurs 
*' personnes de I'autre sexe a fait un vilain naufrage." — See also 
Pinacot. i, p. 96. I shall not contend for the morality of the 
Pastor Fido ; but I will acknowledge, that I rather think the 
author intended to show the universal power of love, than to re- 


the Aminta and the Pastor Fido been so easy of imi- 
tation, the Dione would not, perhaps, be so deservedly 
neglected ; for both these trifies have enjoyed the ad- 
miration of all the enlightened nations of Europe for 
two centuries. The Aminta does not fall within my 
plan ; but I shall observe, that the Pastor Fido has 
been repeatedly translated into all the living languages 
of Europe, and even into Greek*. This ill supports 
the assertion of the sour critic, that " there is some- 
" thing in the poetical Arcadia so remote from known 
" reality and speculative possibility, that we can 
** never support its representation through a long 
" work. A pastoral of an hundred lines," he con- 
tinues, " may be endured ; but who will hear of 
*' sheep and goats, and myrtle bowers, and purling 
" rivulets, through five acts ? Such scenes please bar- 
" barians in the dawn of literature, and children 
" in the dawn of life; but will be, for the most 
** part, thrown away, as men grow wise, and na- 
** tions grow learned f." Surely the period in which 
the Pastor Fido has been so graciously received, and 
so warmly admired, cannot be called the dawn of lite- 
rature, — nor its admirers be termed barbarians ! These 

commend a vitious indulgence of the passion. It is, however, to 
be wished that he had omitted the passage in att. i. sc. 3. beghi- 
iiing, ** o pill d'ogn' altra misera Corisca," &c. and that he had 
said less about saporiti baci. 

* Crescimbe7ii, tom» ii. p. 482. 

t Life of Gay. 


are stubborn facts. But let us now hear a critic, 
whose poetical productions are the admiration of the 
present age, and will probably last as long as the lan- 
guage in which they are clothed. In acknowledging 
the receipt of a pastoral drama, which his friend 
Pasquini had sent him, Metastasio says, " I have at- 
" tentively read your new pastoral fable, and, without 
*' entering upon a minute examination of it, I assure 
" you, with that candour to which we are mutually 
** accustomed, that it has pleased me much more 
*' than the Generous Spartan, in all its parts, except 
" the style ; as in that, to own the truth, you appear 
*' to me sometimes too negligent. You will say, and 
" with great truth, that the interlocutors should speak 
" a lans[ua2:e suitable to their station. But I believe, 
" that between the language of real and theatrical 
*' shepherds there should be the same proportion of 
" difference, as the best writers usually observe be- 
" tween real and theatrical princes. Human nature 
" is vain, and never pleased with those portraits 
" which lower the advantageous opinions which it 
" forms of itself; like those beauties, who are un- 
" willing to sit, unless to such dexterous painters as 
" can draw their likeness more from the good than 
" bad features of their faces; diminishing in some 
" with modest adulation wherever there is excess, 
" and adding to others with the same caution, what- 
'* ever is wanting to perfection. Guarini was too 
" sensible of this weakness, and meant to flatter it in 


" his celebrated Pastor Fido, by the happy pretext of 
*' his personages being of divine origin, attributing to 
** shepherds the language of philosophers and heroes ; 
" and by artfully mixing whatever was most pleasing 
" in the country, most grand in courts, and most 
" ingenious in the schools, has extorted admiration, 
" not only from his own countrymen, but the most 
*' polished people in every other part of Europe. 
" Indeed he has often had the address to soften the 
" rigour even of inexorable critics themselves, who 
" only read his work, in order to condemn it*/' Of 
the beauties of the drama, upon which JNIetastasio 
bestows such just and elegant praise, the mere English 
reader can form but a very imperfect idea from the 
translation of Fanshawe, however considerable its 
merit : but the celebrated passage beginning, " Care 
selve beate,'' must be familiar to him in the excellent 
version of Roscommon ; and the opening of the exqui- 
site description of spring, has been imitated by Milton 
with his wonted felicity. But I trust that a version 
of the whole poem, not less faithful than that of 
Fanshawe, but clothed in numbers more grateful to 
the modern ear, and in which it may be truly said 

* Bumey, Mem. of Metastasio, vol. i. p. 217". Part of Metas- 
tasio's Defence of the Pastor Fido seems to be borro^\ ed from 
Gravina, Delia Rag. Poet, p. 191. Land. 1806. The most elabo- 
rate, if not the most able defence of this drama, is. Apologia di 
Gie, Savio, in difesa del Pastor Fido, Ven. 1601. 


" the flame," not *' the ashes," has been preserved, 
will yet enrich our language. 

Resting his fame upon this drama, Guarini was 
anxious to finish it with the most elaborate care, and 
therefore gladly availed himself of the judgement of 
his literary friends during the progress of the work. 
In a letter to Francesco Vialardi, he rejoices at the 
opportunity which a visit to Guastalla, in 15S3, 
afforded him of reciting part of his pastoral in the 
presence of an assembly of the accomplished guests 
of his friend Don Ferrando Gonzaga*. Before he 
ventured to exhibit it publicly, he had it privately 
represented in Ferrara f, and he seems, ever after, to 
have watched its scenical appearance with parental 
fondness. The first public exhibition took place 
(1585) in Turin on the occasion already mentioned. 
AVhen it was proposed to represent it in Mantua, the 
anxious author sent a long letter of instructions to 
the duke in regard to the manner in which the repre- 
sentation should be conducted; reprobating, at the 
same time, the interruption of intra mezziX. In a 
letter to Sig. Marzini, upon the same subject, when a 
representation in Rimini was in contemplation, we 
find his sentiments on the chorus. To the practice of 
the Greek stage he objects. He thinks the chorus 

• Lett. p. 62. 

t Some account of the house in which this exhibition took 
place may be found in Hist. Mem. on ItaL Trag, p. 290. note (r). 
t Lett. p. 17. 


should not be stationary, but that its appearance 
should depend upon the necessity for its presence. 
Accordingly the chorus in the Pastor Fido only 
appears occasionally. Many learned and ingenious 
remarks on the chorus, which may, perhaps, be 
ascribed to the author, may be found in the edition of 
this drama, printed at Venice, l602*. 

Long after the demise of Guarini the Pastor Fido 
kept possession of the stage. It was frequently repre- 
sented, not only in public theatres, but sometimes in 
the spacious saloons of French and Italian palaces, 
and sometimes amidst the verdant scenery of sylvan 
theatres f. Still it is admired in the closet ; and many 

• Lett. p. 158. 

t I shall here transcribe Lady Pomfref s lively description of 
the sylvan theatre near Rome, in which the Pastor Fido had 
been represented. In a letter to the Countess of Hertford, she 
sa3's, " After dinner we went about two miles out of town (Rome), 
" and then entered a wood, through which we ascended a hill 
*' for very near another mile. About the middle of this mountain 
" of trees (called Monte Mario} there is a villa (the Villa 
" Madama), which was begun either by Leo X. or Clement VII. 
*' when cardinal ; for the Medici arms, with the red hat, are to 
" be observed in a portico that is finely painted and furnished 
" with statues, and also in another very fine room. — Beyond the 
*' house, the wood rises as high again ; and in one part of it is 
" formed a theatre, with seats for the audience. There is a 
** cave, with a spring at the extremity : and trees growing and 
** hanging over from rocks, answer for the side-scenes. A cas- 
*' cade falls from the stage into the middle of a meadow, where 
" the prince and princess (whose wedding it was written to 


dramas, in various languages, have emanated from 
it: but it has ceased to be acted. After a short 
struggle, the shepherds of Guarini have yielded the 
stage to the heroes of the melo-drama. 


No. V. 


In or about the month of July 1802, the librarian 
of the publick library at Ferrara discovered the fol- 

*' celebrate) first heard the play of Pastor Fido." Corresp, 
vol. iii. p. 150. — I shall just observe, that Lady Pomfret erro- 
neously shifts the scene of the first representation of the Pastor 
Fido from Turin to the neighbourhood of Rome : and then pro- 
ceed to transcribe Vasi's account of the Villa Madama. " Fatta 
*' costrulre dal Cardinal Giulo de Medici, che fu poi eletto papa 
'* col nome di Clemente VII. Si chiama communemente Villa 
c* Madama, perche fu data in restituzione di dote a Madama 
*' Margherita, figha di Carlo V. la quale poi rimaritandosi con 
** Ottavio Farnese dove restituirla a quella illustre famiglia, da 
*' cui 1' a ereditata dipoi il re delle due Sicilie. II bel casino fu 
*' incominciato col disegno del gran Raffaello da Urbino, e dopo 
** la sua morte terminato da Giulio Romano, il quale vi a di- 
" pinto egregiamente tutto il portico, il fregio d' una sala, e la 
" volta d' una stanza, adjutato da Giovanni da Udine ; ambedue 
" scolari eccellenti dell' immortal Ratfaelio." Itin. di Roma, 
p. 756. — A view of this interesting villa, after a painting by 
Wilson, may be found in Hist. Mem, m Italian Tragedy, p, 8. 


lowing little poem, in a mass of papers belonging to 
the library. The hand-writing in which the verses 
were written, immediately struck him as being that 
of Tasso. A careful comparison with other un- 
doubted MSS. of that great poet, confirmed the con- 
jecture. With the poem, some interesting notices 
respecting Tasso were found, which are thought 
worthy of preservation. A faithful transcript of the 
whole communication of the librarian is given below. 

Camillo Ariosto, nipote di Ludovico, fu del partito 
ed amico del Tasso, come si trae del seguente paragrafo 
d' una sua lettera scritta ad Annibale Ariosto, segnata 
da Ferrara, sotto il di 21 di Marzo dell anno 1579> 
che manuscritta si truova nel vol. 1® delle lettere e 
documenti tendenti alia medesima famiglia Ariosti, 
che si conservano in questa publica Bibliotheca — 

" Di nuovo non ho altri, che il Tasso e peranco 
" in St. Anna come vi scrissi, mal trattato e cora- 
" passionato da tutti, ma non sa che faccisi, et non 
*' ostante che sia in tale stato versifica al solito col 
" solito furore — se bene alcuni dicono che nelle sue 
" poesie si comincia a scorgere un poco di non so 
*< che d' intelletto corrotto, di ch' io non saprei dar 
" giuditio, e vero che io giudico il contrario, cioe 
" quanto piu a furioso passa, tanto migliori debbeno 
" esser i suoi versi, perch^ se e vero, che la poesia, 
*' nasca da furore, io tengo, ch' essendo furioso, debba 
" per consequenza esser buon poeta pi^ che mai, 


" tanto piii che ne suoi versi mi pare <li scorgere il 
" medesimo stile, V istessi spirit! e i soliti concetti. 
*' Onde mi faccio a credere che lo che ho ardito dire, 
" nasca da vera afFezione ch' io porto a quel gia pure, 
" sano et alto intelletto, bench^ non puo nascere da 
" altro, non havendo ne scienzia ne giudicio di tale 
" cose comeli ho detto di sopra," &c. 

Unito a questa lettera si truova un componimento 
poetico manuscritto originale di mano propria del 
medesimo Tasso inedito, che non si vede stampato 
nelle rime nemmeno nelF opere del medesimo, sul 
quale forse il detto Ariosto diede il suo giudicio col 
dire, che quando il Tasso si trovava rilegato nell' 
ospitale di S. Anna egli era sano di mente e d' in- 

Vol a, vola pensier fuor del mio petto 
Vanue veloce a quella faccia bella 
Ch' e la mia chiara stella 
Dille cortesamente, con araore 
Eccoti lo mio core. 

E mentre le sue vaghe e bionde treccie 
E quegli occhi lucenti mirerai 
Cosi tu gli dirai 
Celeste sol, rara belta infinita, 
Eccoti la mia vita ! 

E se CO '1 lampeggiar del dolce viso 
Rasserenar volesse i giomi miei, 
Non ti partir da lei 

Ma dille ogn' hor ardendo nel suo petto 
Eccoti un tuo soggetto ! 



Cosi fuor di me stesso viverai ^ 

In lei, ne piu da me farai ritomo 
Fin che quel viso adorno 
Non dica, con 1' accoite sue raaniere 
Eccomi in tuo potere ! 

Oltre di cio altra notizia abbiamo trovato pure 
intorno al motivo della prigionia in S. Anna del Tasso 
non osservata dal Scrassi, ne d' altri, che scrissero la 
vita d' esso Tasso, la quale e pur anche giovevole e 
ineritevole d' esser di nuova divulgata. Questa e un 
annotazione di Claudio Bertazzoli Jurisconsolto Fer- 
rarese, che si legge nel consilio 228 intorno alia 
questione " Mulier quando sit separanda a viro oh illius 
" adultsrium, vel scevitiasj lel furor em" che truova si 
nel torn. i. Consiliorum seu Responsorum Juris in 
Criminalibus di Bart. Bertazzoli, alia pagina 302, dove 
si legge : *' Exemplum est apud nos non sine lacrimis 
" memorandum de Torquato Tasso, viro in omni 
" doctrinarum genere et in poesi maxime perspicuo 
*' atque excellenti, qui in sedibus Divae Annas bac- 
. *' chatus in vesanise morbum adductus proficientis ex 
" copid calidse bilis quse mentis domicilium non 
" oppugnavit solum sed expugnavit," &c. 

Su cui pure il P. Giovanni Ciriani, Agostiniani 
Scalzo Ferrarese, nella sua opera intitolata " Catalogo 
*' degli Uomini illustri di Ferrara'' che MSS. ei con- 
serva in questa publica Bibliotheca, pag. 224, dove 
parlando di Torquato Tasso scrive le seguente parole ; 
" qui travagliato dall' humor melanconico a cui era 


" soggetto, sotto habito e nome iinto d' Homero fuggi- 
" guerra giro gran parte d' Italia, fu in questo mezzo 
" tempo in Urbino accolto da quel Duca, e in Torino 
" ove compose i suoi Dialoghi, et altra prole da 
" quell* Altezza pariraente ben visto, e favorito. 
" Ma crescendo il predominante umore in et^ 
" d' anni 36 h, Ferrara fece nuovo ritorno, ove da 
" ben mille disastri incontrato, moss' a pieta il Duca 
" Alfonso, con buona custodia, nell' Ospitale di St. 
" Anna il racchiuse, ove dimoro dieci anni con- 
" tinui in capo de* quali pass6 a Mantoua ricercato 
" da queir Altezza," &c. 

N. B. II Tasso fu rinserrato nell' Ospitale di 
S. Anna della Citta di Ferrara in principio del 
mese di Marzo del 1579 ed indi fu posto in li- 
berta sul terminar del' Anno 1587 come si rileva 
da una lettera del Verdizotti scritta al medesimo 
Orazio Ariosto, segnata il di 23 Gennajo 1588. 
nella quale dice " Havendo inteso dal V illus- 
" trissimo Sr. Scipione Gonzaga hora Cardinale 
" meritissimo che il detto Sr. Torquato Tasso, 
" si trova in casa sua." Da cio e mal detto da 
diversi scrittori che dieci anni continui stava il Tasso 
in S. Anna. 

I am indebted to a German lady of refined taste 
and many accomplishments, for the above valuable 
communication. — On her return to Ireland she fa- 
voured me with a copy, and, as the favour was 


accompanied with no restrictions, I have taken the 
liberty to enrich my Appendix with this literary 


Page 2, note *, line 7. Even misled PerrauU.I I shall 
transcribe the words of Perrault : " Mais pour revenir a ce 
** seau, je crois que c'est une pure fiction de nostre poete, 
*' lequel pour se mocquer des Boulonnois, quoyquHl Ic soit 
" luymesmCf et pour faire tomber sur eux toute la raillerie, 
" comme il paroist dans tout son ouvrage, leur attribue la 
*' foiblesse et la bassesse des Modenois." Tom. ii. p. 330. 

Page 16, line 9. Son of the famous Marco Antonio, 
called II Trionfatore.] " Cliiama il Tassoni, Marco An- 
" tonio padre del Cardinale Ascanio, II Trionfatore, 
" perch* egli Luogo-Tenente Generale dell'Armata Navale 
" Pontificia dopo la segnalata vittoria contro de' Turchi 
" accaduta nel 1571, alle isole Curzolari tomato a Roma, 
" con solenne trionfo accompagnato dal senato, e dagli 
" altri magistrati Ilomani si porto a Santa Maria di Araceli 
" ad offerire una Colonna Rostrata di argento di con- 
" siderabil peso, che tuttavia ivi si conserva colla sua 
" iscrizione." Muratorif Vita del Tassoni, p*. 53. This 

* These " Additional Notes" were not discovered by the Editor 
amongst the papers of the Author until after the Appendix had 
gone to press, else they would have been, perhaps, more pro- 
perly placed by the Printer before the Appendix. — Editor„ 


circumstance is ajluded to by Gibbon, in his history of 
the Colc^nna family. Vol. ix. p. 220. Lond. 1808. 

Page 17, line 19. Conveying Maria de' MediciJ] The 
name of Maria de Medici is closely connected with the 
history of elegant literature and the fine arts. When the 
weaknesses and misfortunes of this persecuted queen shall 
be forgotten, it will, perhaps, be remembered, that the 
following works were written under her auspices, and 
were gratefully dedicated to her by their respective 
authors: VAdone of Marino; VEuridice of Ilinuucini, 
the first regular melo-drama that was ever publicly re- 
presented : and L'Adanio of Andreini, which is sup- 
posed to have given birth to the Paradise Lost of Milton. 
Guarini praises the beauty of Maria in some of his ma- 
drigals; and the same poet wrote Dialogo di Giunone e 
Minerva J which was recited nella sontuosissima cenafatta 
nella. cittd di Firenze, quando si die Vannello alia prin^ 
cipessa Maria Medici. Iler beauty is also often the 
theme of Chiabrera ; and his dramatic pastoral of Cefalo 
was written for representation on occasion of her nuptials 
at FJorence. When Marino sought the protection of 
Margaret de Valois in France, and was disappointed in 
his expectations, Maria took him into her service, and 
granted him a pension of 1500 golden crowns, which she 
afterwards raised to 2000. A lover of the fine arts, Reu- 
bens experienced her favour and munificence ; and the 
famous series of paintings, by that great artist, in the 
Luxembourg gallery, in which some of the principal 
events in her life are represented, and which may be 
said to display the triumph of Allegory, were executed by 
her order. Descamps, La Vie des Peintres, 4'C» Paris^ 
11753, torn. I. p. 305. 


Since writing the foregoing note, the following inge- 
nious observation, on an interesting incident, appeared in 
Mr. Hayley's Life of Homney. Describing this gallery, 
he says, " This magnificent work, with striking defects, 
" has infinite merit. It contains a female head, which, 
" in point of expression, appeared to me one of the 
" happiest efforts of art that I ever beheld. I venture to 
*' make some observations upon it, in opposition to a 
" sentiment of Sir Joshua Reynolds, who derides those 
" lovers of painting that fancy they discover in a picture 
" what he thought the pencil could not express — a 
" mixed emotion of the mind. The countenance I allude 
" to, is that of the Queen contemplating her new-born 
" child. Her features, if I am not greatly deceived, very 
'^ clearly and forcibly display the traces of departed pain, 
" and the immediate influence of tenderness and delight. 
*' We may learn, from the charm of this admirable head, 
" that the most common emotions of nature, when de- 
" lineated with delicacy and force, are sure to interest 
" and enchant a spectator." 

Page 22, line 3. Trion^, &c.] About the year 1587, 
William Fowler, a Scottish poet, presented a version of 
the Trionji to James VI., who, in return, honoured the 
translator with a panegyrical sonnet. Vide Scot. Descrip, 
Poems, p. 232. 

Page 33, line 24. Pctrarca was now the idol of the 
Italian nntion-l Tassoni describes the tomb and cele- 
brates the cat of Petrarch. Cant. viii. st. 33, 34. 

Page 42, line 21. The sonnet of Tassoni, &c.] Anxious 
to exhibit a specimen of every species of composition in 
which Tassoni exercised his versatile genius, I shall insert. 


in this place, the sonnet which I have excluded from 
the text. 

Dunque un Scanapidocchi, un Patriarca 

De gli Asini da basto anch' ei presume 

Con una musa succida d' untume 

Di far 1' Archimandrita del Petrarca ? 
Cigno Orecchiuto, bestia della Marca, 

Se posso aver di te notizia o lume» 

lo ti faro mutar faccia e costume 

Con una trippa di sua mcrce carca. 
Un tuo pari nudrito in un porcile 

Senza stil di creanza, e senza ouore 

Merta ben d* esser detto auima vile. 
To vivo de la Corte a lo splendore : 

Tu ti ricoverasti al Campanile 

Per essera un poltrone, un manglatore. 
E ti fu per errore. 

Da un' Ignorante quel capestro awlnto, 
Che al Gollo, e non al cul t' andava cinto. 

Page 44, note *, line 3. The mock-heroic poetry of the 
Italians was invented by Tassoni.^ It is an extraordinary 
fact, that Mr. Cambridge, in the excellent preface to his 
Scribleriadf omits the Secchia Rapita in his enumeration 
of the most celebrated mock-heroic poems; nor does the 
name of Tassoni appear in his elaborate notes. Tassoni 
seems likewise to have escaped the recollection of 
Dr. Beattie, while he was writing his Ess. on Laughter 
and Ludicrous Composition^ in which the subject of the 
mock-heroic is amply discussed. For such omissions it 
is difficult to account. To Dr. Beattie La Secchia 


Mapita was certainly known, for it is mentioned in his 
JEss. on Poet, and Music, part i. ch. vi. And we are told 
by his venerable biographer, that amongst the poetical 
essays of his youth was a poem on the same model, 
entitled, Grotesguiad, vol. i. p. 79. Garth's Dispensary 
is a decided imitation of the Lutrin of Boileau. See 
Pref. to the Disp. p. 14. 

Page 44, note J. Crescimbeni admits that neither 
Berni nor Pulci can be truly said to have preceded Tas- 
soni in the heroi-comic walk of poetry.'] An attempt at 
the mock-heroic was made so early as 1556 by Heywood, 
in his dull Poem, entitled The Spider and the Pile. 
" The most lively part of this poem," says Mr. Warton, 
" is, perhaps, the mock-fight between the spiders and 
" the flies ; an aukward imitation of Homer's Batracho- 
" myomachy." Hist, of Eng. Poetry, vol. iii. p. 95. 

Page 56, note — , line 8. In 1710 an English metrical 
translation zcas undertaken by OzelL] As the title of 
the first edition of Ozell's translation is historical, I shall 
transcribe it : La Secchia Rapita : The Trophy-Bucket : 
A mock-heroic poem, the first of the kind. By Signior 
Alessandro Tassoni. Upon an accident that happened 
between the tzoo parties of the Guelphs and the Gibellines 
in Italy, in their contention about who should be upper- 
most, the Emperor or the Pope. Done from the Italian 
into English Rhime^ by Mr. Ozell. To zchich is annexed, 
a correct copy of Tassoni*s original, together with Signior 
Salviani^s Notes, from the Venetian edition. With his- 
torical cuts. Part I. London. Printed by J. D. for 
Egbert Sanger, at the Middle Temple Gate in Fleet 
Street, 1710. 


Page 60, note *. Tassoni, whose fancy seems to have 
delighted more in excursions to the gloomy cave of spleen, 
than in wandering through the romantic xcilds of fairy 
land.'] Although fertility of invention has never beea 
denied to Camoens, Ariosto, and Tasso, they are sup- 
posed to be chiefly indebted for their fairy bowers, and 
enchanted palaces, to the island of Circe. But, perhaps, 
it may yet be found that they are not less obliged to some 
Arabian tales, which were known in their time; such, for 
instance, as the adventures of Prince Agib, in the Ara~ 
hian Nights' Entertainments : and, in their fairy-race, 
Vje discover a strong affinity with the Persian Pieries. 
See Sir William Ouseleys Pers. Miscel. ch. vi. and 
Mr. Rose's curious notes on his translation of Parten 
opex de Blois. Perhaps, too, they enriched their imagi- 
nations from a source, which was also open to Tassoni ; 
I mean the marvellous relations of credulous travellers in 
the infancy of navigation, many of which abound in all 
the wild whimsies of the Gothic romance. Of this nature 
is the following narrative of the garrulous and amusing 
Froissart. In his interesting account of the French lords, 
who had been prisoners in Turkey, he says, they touched 
at the island of Cephalonia, and *• having anchored,*' 
h^ continues, " they landed, and were met by a large 
party of ladies and damsels, who have the government of 
the island. They received the French lords with joy, 
and led them to the interior part of the island, which is 
very beautiful, to amuse and enjoy themselves. Some 
say, who pretend to be acquainted with the state of the 
island, and insist upon it that fairies and nymphs inhabit 
it, £vnd that, frequently, merchants from Venice and 


Genoa, who have been forced by stress of weather to 
make some stay there, have seen the appearances of 
them, aad have had the truth of these reports confirmed." 
Chron. of Sir John Froissart, vol. xi. p. 7. Translated hy 
Thomas JohneSj Esq, 

Page 64, line 7. No, never did Orestes, &c.] I hope 
I shall be excused if I should go a little out of my way, to 
notice one of the finest pictures, or rather sketches of 
madness, with its hasty step, that I have ever met. It is 
in the Purgatorio of Dante ; a part of his Div. Com. 
which is little known. 

Page 68, line 6. He should, perhaps, have sent it as a 
warning.^ Such of my readers as have had patience to 
follow me through the long analysis of the first canto of 
X' Oceano, will read, with surprise, the following eulogium 
on this poem by Perrault : 

" Dans ce poeme il (Tassoni) fait voir que s'il a mis 
" dans le premier, (the Secchia Rapita,) des libertez et des 
*' bassesses, c'est qu'il I'a bien voulu, comme servans a son 
" burlesque; car dans le chant dont je parle, il n'y a rien 
*' que de serieux, rien qui ne soit grand et esleve et digne 
" d'un poeme heroique, aussi le donne-t-il pour modelle a 
" son amy, qui avoit entrepris d'en faire un pareil." Avert, 
au Seau Enleve. 

Although I dissent from the opinion of Perrault, I will 
confess that I regret Tassoni did not complete his original 
design. As a poet it is probable he would have failed ; 
but, as a philosopher and a man of science, he would have 
been instructive, if not amusing. 

Page 70, note *, line 1. Fro7n the long list of poems on 
the subject of the discovery of the western world, &c.] 


Besides the Italian poems on the discovery of the nev. 
world, mentioned in the note to which I refer, the follow- 
ing are enumerated by Quadrio : 

Giambatista Strozzi, il giovane, detto il Cieco, aveva 
cominciato un poema eroico che aveva intitolata 1! Ame- 
rica. Ma non ne diede alia luce che il primo canto, che 
fu impress© in Firenze sua patria. 

II mondo nuovo del Signor Giovanni Giorgini. Canti 
xxiv. in ottava rima. In Jesi 1596. 4to. 

Baldassar Bonifacio preparava un poema eroico intito- 
la to II Mondo Nuovo, come si narra nelle Glorie degV 

DclV America. Cant, cinque, ^-c. di Aganio di Somna. 
Roma, 1623. nmo. 

U America, Poejtia Eroico di Girolamo Bartolommei. 
Roma, 1650. Fol. Canti xl. in octava rimn. 

Notwithstanding the many poems which have appeared 
upon the discovery of America, Mr. Barlow does not 
seem to think it a fit subject for the epic muse : " On 
" examining the nature of that event, he found that the 
** most brilliant subjects, incident to such a plan, would 
" arise from the consequences of tire discovery, and must 
" be represented in vision." To this opinion I cannot sub- 
scribe. I think that history presents few finer subjects 
for the epic muse, provided it were to be treated in the 
manner Tassoni recommends. But I perfectly agree with 
Mad. du Boccage, that " Ce nouvel Ulysse" (Columbus) 
" merite un autre Horaere." In conformity with the 
opinion which he has advanced, Mr. Barlow gives us a 
vision, instead of a regular epic poem : " He rejected,' 
he says, " the idea of a regular epic form, and confined 


•'* his plan to the train of events which might be repre- 
" sented to the hero in vision." This plan he has executed 
with considerable ability. But his work excites little 
interest. His heroes are shadowy beings, which flit 
before us in a kind of twilight. Vanishing like phantoms, 
they elude examination. Nor are his incidents circum- 
stantially detailed, or regularly connected. His events 
are often momentous ; but they are the events of ages. 
We are hurried on by the irresistible force of the dark 
deep flood of time. In fact Columbus is the auditor, 
not the guide ; we follow the author, not the hero. As a 
poem, however, the Vision of Columbus has great merit. 
The diction is rich and flowing, and many passages bear 
evident marks of true poetic genius : but, as an epic 
poet, Mr. Barlow will not, I fear, (at least in right of 
his Vision,) be ranked in the epic class. Nor does the 
poem of Mad. du Boccage rise higher. Her Columbiade, 
however, is full of incidents, many of which are beautiful 
and interesting : but her poem is loosely constructed ; 
and, although her machinery displays great fertility and 
brilliancy of fancy, it is, I fear, obnoxious to criticism, 
upon the same grounds on which the machinery of 
Camoens has been censured ; it is a melange coupable ; 
a jumble of sacred and profane mythology, tinctured 
with the magic of the Gothic romance. 

Page 80, note f, line 1. It is asserted by some writers^ 
4-c. that Giambattista Porta may dispute with Galileo the 
honour of the invention of the telescope.'] Giambattista 
Porta was born at Naples in 1540. At an early age he 
devoted himself to study with so much ardour, that, 
while still a youth, he made a rapid progress in phi- 


losophy, the mathematics, physic, judicial astrology, and 
•natural magic. Attracted by the celebrity of the uni- 
versity of Bologna, he retired to that city, where he 
resided some time. During his stay he contributed to 
the establishment of the Academia degli Oziosi : and, on 
his return to his native city, he instituted, in his own 
house, the Academia de' Secreti ; " which was so called," 
says Mr. Hawkins, " because that no one could be ad- 
" mitted a member of it who had not signalized himself by 
" some new discovery, by some instance of experimental 
" knowledge, or by some secret which he possessed." The 
mysterious nature of this institution roused the vigilance 
of the Holy Office ; and when the Magica Naturalis was 
announced, they became seriously alarmed, and Porta 
was ordered to appear before the dread tribunal. But as 
he made it appear that he neither entertained heretical 
opinions, nor pretended to supernatural powers, he was 
dismissed. From a passage in the Magica Naturalis, 
it has been supposed that Porta invented the telescope; 
but it now appears that, in the passage in question, says 
M. Landi, " the author speaks of spectacles, {lunettes,) 
" not of the telescope." He made, however, some useful 
discoveries in optics, which he published ; and to him has 
been ascribed the invention of the camera obscura. His 
Thytognomonica, and his essays on physiognomy, are 
allowed to be ingenious. And his great work, Magica 
Naturalis, contains much curious matter, mingled with 
many absurdities. In the decline of life he turned his 
thoughts towards the stage, and made considerable ac- 
cessions to the stock of Italian dramas : two of his 
tragedies, and fourteen of his comedies, are still extant. 


Of his comedies, La Trappola7'ia is likely to be the 
longest remembered, as it gave birth to Ruggle's cele- 
brated Latin comedy, entitled Ignoramus. Porta died 
at Naples in 1615 : " Regrette," says M Landi, " de 
** tons ses contemporains, qui le regardoient comme un 
" genie rare qui faisoit honneur a, son siecle." Hist. Mem. 
on Ital. Trag. p. 143. Bist. de la Litt. d^Ital. torn. iv. 
p. 150 — 153. Igno7vimus, Com. Lond. 1787. p. xiv. 

The invention of the telescope has also been attributed 
to Padre Paolo Sarpi, author of the celebrated History/ of 
the Council of Trent. That he might have assisted Ga- 
lileo in the progress of the improvements which he made 
in that instrument, is very probable, as he was frequently 
consulted by the Tuscan artist; but there are no grounds 
upon which his claim to the honour of the invention can 
be established. It has been likewise said that the dis- 
covery of the circulation of the blood originated with that 
illustrious man. But it would seem, from a passage in 
the work entitled De Errorihus Trinitatis, for which 
Servetus was burned by the iron-hearted Calvinists of 
Geneva, that the discovery in question was made by 
that unfortunate physician at least twenty years before 
Sarpi was born. The discovery, however, really belongs 
to G. F. Aquapendente, although the honour is enjoyed 
by Harvey. But Sarpi has claims to celebrity, which 
preclude the necessity of ascribing to him inventions to 
wiiich his title is questionable, and which, it is probable, 
he never had it in contemplation to arrogate. He was 
certainly one of the greatest men of the age in which he 
flourished. It was justly observed of him, that " he not 
" only knew more than other men, but that he knew better; 


" and that he seemed to have wisdom by habit.*' The ver- 
satility of his genius was indeed astonishing. During his 
residence in the court of Rome, his observation of the 
vices of that court shook his orthodoxy; and in his 
nervous and terrible works {ouvrages nerveux et ter* 
ribles), says M. Landi, he evinced a tendency to Calvin- 
ism. The publication to which M. Landi particularly 
alludes, is the History of the Council of Trent. At 
the instigation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir 
Nathaniel Brent sought out in Venice a copy of this 
work, of which Marcus Antonius de Dominis, Archbishop 
of Spalato, in the territory of Venice, (who was afterwards 
burned as an heretic in Rome,) undertook the publication 
in London, where it appeared, with a dedication to 
James T. It was afterwards translated by Sir Nathaniel 
Brent, and published, 1629, in folio. Sarpi died at 
Venice in 1623. Hist, de la Litt. d'ltal. torn. iv. liv. 2. 
Walton^s Lives, edited by Dr. Zouch, Q.d ed. York, 1807. 
In both these publications many interesting particulars 
concerning Sarpi may be found. 

But I would beg leave to refer any future biographer of 
the historian of the Council of Trent to a little volume, 
now lying before me, entitled Vita del Padre Paolo, delP 
ordine de* Servi,&^-c. Ven. 1658. 

Page 179, line 22. And " the bitter juice," &c.] I 
am indebted for this strong expression to some beautiful 
verses, &c. by the Earl of Carlisle. Lond. 1807. 

Page 182, line 3. 

Dextera curjicum, quczris mea gestet inanem f 
Longi operis merces hacfuit. Aula dedit.'} 


This distich is thus alluded to by a friend, in some 
playful lines, which he sent me while I was employed on 
these memoirs : 

Your hero's hand a worthless fig display'd. 
As his reward for toil, by prmces paid, &c. 

Page 183, note *. The laudable practice to zohich I 
refer, had obtained in Italy from the i5th century, when 
*' the most accomplished scholarSy' says Mr. Roscoe, 
" were, in almost every government, the first ministers of 
" the time," &c.] According to Sir Richard Steel, the prac- 
tice alluded to was revived (for it had once prevailed hi 
England) by Lord Halifax. 

Page 218, line 1. For the length of this critique, &c. 
upon La Secchia Rapita*.] This extraordinary poem 
embraces not only unity of action but unity of design. 
The action is double. One party defends, and the other 
endeavours to recover the Bucket; and on these subjects 
the whole action of the poem is made to turn. The poem 
is formed chiefly by the classic model, but the Gothic 
manner is sometimes admitted, as in the 9th canto fully 

Tasso's success in uniting both manners, must have been 
known to Tassoni. Tasso pleases when he imitates the 

* The observations and critique of the Author upon the Sec- 
chia Rapita being so full and so copious in the body of the 
work, it was conceived that little further remained to be said 
upon that interesting subject : however, the Editor having found 
amongst the Author's papers, the foregoing further observations 
upon that extraordinary poem, he felt it his duty to introduce theu> 
in this place, although it is not certain what the Author's inten- 
don might have been respecting them. — Editor, 


ancients, but he delights when he borrows the Gothic 
fiction. Tassoni's object was to excite a laugh ; in fact 
to make his readers merry : for this purpose he employs 
both the pagan deities and the Gothic magicians. His 
machinery is not of one kind — it is classic and Gothic. 


Containing, (in Alphabetical arrangement,) the Names of 
all the Authors, and of the several othei^ Persons men- 
tioned in this Work ; — also, the Names of most of 
the Poems, Dramas, or other literary Works, &c. quoted, 
with the Page where each Name appears, (for the first 
time,) noticed : — thus, the Reader, in each case, need 
not look for any Name earlier in the Work than the 
Page represented, although many of the Names are to 
be found, repeated, (and, perhaps, in several instances, 
— frequently repeated,) in Pages subsequent to the Page 


AcADEMiA, dei Lincei • 30 

, degli Oziozi 300 

, de Secreti • • ib. 

, degl'Umoristi 27 

Acciajuoli, Cardinal' • • 28 
Adamo, L', of Andreini ^292 
Adolphus, Gustavus, King 

of Sweden 174 

Adone, L', of Marino •• 292 

Aganio, di Sonna 298 

Agib, Prince 296 

A gnolo, Michael-^ 242 

Aikin, Dr. 129 

Albani, Signor 267 

Alberici, P. Raimond- • 126 
Aldobrandini, Cardinal 246 
Aldrovandus, Ulysses • . 10 
Alexander VII. (Pope) 154 
Alfonso • • • • 103 


Alfonso II. Duke of Fer- 

rara 146 

AUacci, Leone 99 

Amadeide, L', (a Poem) 248 
Amadeus, of Savoy* • • • 256 

Aminta, F. 44 

Ammanati, Julia 231 

Anacoana 76 

Auacreon 258 

Anna, St. (Ospidale nel 

Ferrara) 286 

Aprile, Paolo 126 

Aquapendente, G. F.- • 301 
Aragona, Tullia d' • • • • 32 

Archibugio 157 

Ariosto 54 

, Annibale 286 

, Camillo ib. 

, Ludovico ib. 




Ariosto, Orazio 289 

Aristotle 72 

Armida 64 

Aromatarj, GiosefFe deg- 

li 37 

, Giuseppe deg- 

li ib. 

Arquebuss — vid . Cham- 
bers' Dictionary 157 

Arria and Poetus 161 

Arteaga 228 

Ascham 22 

Aurelio, Ludovico 121 


Bacon, Lord 26 

, Sir Roger 80 

Bagni, Cardinal 152 

Baillet 43 

Baldi, Camillo, of Bolog- 
na 82 

Baldovinus 108 

Barberini, Cardinal • • • 142 

Barberino, MafFeo 28 

Barissoni, Abbate Alb. • 48 

Barlow, Mr, 298 

Barocci, Pier Lorenzo • 52 

Baronius, Cardinal 120 

Barotti 1 

Bartolommei, Girolamo 298 

Baschieri, Jacopo 8 

Batrachomyomachy • • • 295 
Baudouin, M. Jean^ • • • 108 

Bavaria, Elector of • • • • 122 

Beattie, Dr. 60 

Belfour, John 226 

Bencastel, Horcher de* 240 
Beni, Paolo (Professor of 

Padua) 40 

Berardi 105 

Berni 44 

Bernini 161 

Bethune, Philip de 139 

Betti, Claudio 10 

Bertazzolo, Claudio • • • 288 
Biaggio, in M. Agnolo's 

last Judgment 201 

Biblioteca di Ferrara- • 288 
Bismozza, Count, of Fer- 
rara 50 

Blancanus 104 

Blasco, in L'Oceano- • • 64 
Boccage, Madame du« • 61 
Boccalini, Trajano • • • • 109 

Boileau 55 

Bojardo 45 

Bonifacio, Baldassar- •• 298 

Borromini • 161 

Boschetti, Count Paolo 166 
Botero, Giovanni ..... 251 

Bracciolini 28 

Bracciolino, Poggio • . • 258 

, of Pistoia- 45 

Bragheton, in la Secchia 197 
Brent, Sir Nathaniel • • 302 

Brocquiere, la 157 

Browne, Sir . • . 51 




Brunette, Ser. 77 

Brusantini, Alessandro • 51 
Brusantino, Count Paolo 51 
Buchanan, George • • • • 145 
Bulugola, Canonico An- 
tonio 156 

Buonanui, Scipioue 273 

Burnett, Bishop 128 

Burney, Dr. 102 

Burton 80 

Busching 137 


Caccini 226 

Caesar, Don, of Ferrara 270 

Cahors, M. de 34 

Callott 191 

Calluso, Marchese di • • 52 

Cambridge, Mr. 187 

Camerlingo, Cardinal 

Cornaro 244 

Cambeus 60 

Carandini, Signer Cava- 

liere Furio 15 

Carey, Dr. 16 

Cai'ino, (in Pastor Fido) 265 
Carissima, IMadonna • • • 26 
Carlo, Duke of Savoy- • 263 

Caro, Annibal 259 

Carter, Mrs. 92 

Carlisle, Earl of 302 

Cassiani, (Printer) • • • • 48 

Cassini, Giulian 31 

Catherine, St. 222 

Catherine, of Austria- • 117 
Ceci, Prince Frederigo 29 
Cefalo, (a Dramatic Pas- 
toral) 250 

Cephalonia, Island of- • 296 

Cerretto, Scipione 104 

Cervantes 187 

Chambers' Dictionary, 

(arquebuss) 157 

Chandois, Duke of - - - - 51 

Chapelain, Jean 52 

Charles, Prince of Wales 264 

Vth, of Spain- • 22 

Chaucer 102 

Chandon 108 

Charlemont, Earl of • - • 86 

Chiabrera, Gabriello • • 29 

, Giovanni • • 244 

, Margerita- - ib. 

Chretien, Nicolas • • • • 250 

Christina, Queen 152 

Cicero 98 

Cid, Chronicle of the • - 182 

Circe, Island of 296 

Ciriani, P. Giovanni • - 288 

Clayton, Sir Richard • • 77 

Cleland, Mr. 179 

Clerjient II. 28 

VII. 104 

VIII. 19 

Clifford, Sir Lewis 169 

, M.M. 206 

Collinsou 86 

Colonna,CardinalAscanio 16 
, DonFilippo-' 28 




Colonna, Marco Autoiiio 16 

Colunibiade 299 

Columbus, Christopher* 56 
Coperario Giovanni, 

(John Cooper) 229 

Copernican System 233 

Correggio 191 

Corsi, Messer Giacomo 224 
Cosmo I. Duke of Flo- 
rence 175 

II. ditto 229 

Cotton, Dr. 75 

Cowley 177 

Cowper, William 28 

Coxe's Travels 150 

Cremonio, of Cento, Pro- 
fessor of Ferrara • • • • 13 

Crescimbeni 25 

Culagna, Count 50 

Cumberland, Mr. 108 

Curl, (Printer) 56 

Cuzzolari, Isole 291 

Cyclops 98 


Daudini, Mutio, Bishop 

of Senigalia 52 

Daniele, Don Frances- 
co 103 

Dante • • • 54 

Dauphin 250 

Denham, Sir John 145 

Descamps 292 

Desmond, Countess of* 26 
Despreaux, M. Boileau 56 
Deuchino, of Venice- • 38 

Diogenes 92 

Domenichino 161 

Dominis, Marcus Anto- 

nius de 302 

Doni 105 

Donne, Dr. John 265 

Douce, Mr. 182 

Drebbel 240 

Dryden, John 43 

Duuster, Mr. 63 


Egon, (in Pastor Fido) 259 

Elihu 236 

Elizabeth, Queen of Eng- 
land 145 

Emanuel, Carlo, Duke of 

Savoy 56 

Emeresio, Omildo • • ♦ • 70 
Enzo, King of Sardinia 1 23 

Erminia, (a Poem) 257 

Erythreus, Janus Nicius 87 

Eschylus * 207 

Este, CardinaleAlessan- 

dro d' 151 

, Prince Luigi d' • • 175 

Euridice L', of Rinnu- 

cini 292 

Euripides 96 

Evelyn 153 





Fabroni • 231 

Fabricius 156 

Falconet, M. 96 

Fanshawe, Sir Richard 117 

Farnese, Ottavio 285 

Favoriti, Agostino 29 

Fenton 18 

Ferdinand I., Grand 
Duke of Florence • • 249 

II. ditto 239 

Fielding 84 

Filiberti, Prince 130 

Firenze, la, (a Poem) • • 248 
Fleury, Cardinal de • • • 29 

Fontanini 52 

Foresto, il, (a Poem) • • 256 
Forzano, Gio. Battista 256 

Fowler, William 293 

Fox, Right Hon. Charles- 
James 132 

Francis I. of Modena • • 162 

III. of ditto 176 

Frederick II. (Emperor) 190 

Froissart, Sir John Q96 

Fulvio, of Savona • • • • 135 
Fuseli 96 


Galanti, Livio 42 

Galilei, Galileo 30 

-, Vincentio • • • • 232 


Gallo, M. Ag. 137 

Garth's Dispensary. • • • 295 

Gay's Polly 43 

Dione n9 

Gerainiani 105 

Gesualdo, Alfonso, of 

Naples 104 

, Carlo, Prince 

of Venosa 99 

Gibbon, Ed. 44 

Giorgini, Giovanni 298 

Giustiniani, Pier Gui- 

seppe 254 

Glass, Dr. 66 

Gobbo, of Pisa 45 

Gonzaga, Cardinal Sci- 

pione 259 

, Don Ferrando 283 

, Francesco • • • 229 

, Sr. Scipione- • 289 

Gotiade, la, (a Poem)- ♦ 256 
Grafagnina Lucia, Mis- 
tress of Tassoni 170 

Grassetti, Alessandro • • 171 

Gravina 45 

Graziani 166 

Graziano, Girolamo 165 

Gregory XIII. 260 

XV. 138 

Grillo, Abate 226 

Grotius, Hugo 93 

Guacanahari, a Cazique 72 
Guadenzio, Paganino" 5 
Guarini, Battista 115 



Guarini, Francesco • • • • 258 
Guelphs aud Gibbelines 295 

Guercino 161 

Gustavus, of Sweden • • 234 


Halifax, Lord 303 

Harrison, Dr. 84 

Hartford, Countess of- • 175 

Harvey, Dr. 301 

Hawkins, Mr. 300 

. , Sir John 105 

Hayley, William 47 

Heraclidae 96 

Henry III. of England 18 

lY. of France- • 17 

Vni. of England 91 

, Duke of Anjou 260 

, of Poland 262 

Hey wood 295 

Holland, Lord 36 

Homer 256 

Horace 257 

Howard and Northum- 
berland House Books 184 

Hughes, J. Ill 

Hume, David 242 

Hurd, Bishop 190 

Hurst, Bishop 214 

Huygens 239 


James I. of England • • 18 

James VI. of Scotland- • 100 
Idropico, of Guarini • • 251 
Ignoramus, a Comedy- - 301 
Job, oh. xxxvii. v. 18.- 236 
Johnes,Thomas,of Hafod 157 
Johnson, Dr. Samuel • - 35 

Jon 96 

Joshua, ch. xi. v. 11 & 12 236 

Iphigenia 96 

Iride, (a Poem) '257 

Irving, Dr. of Edinb.- • 18 


Kaimes, Lord 84 

Kircher 105 


Labadini, Lazaro 4 

Lais, Mistress of Dio- 
genes 92 

Lancio (Padre) 235 

Lande, de la 8 

Landi, M. 14 

Laura 49 

Lawes, Henry 229 

Leo X 79 

XI. 272 

Leopold, Cardinal 241 

Leti 112 

Livio, Servitore of Count 

Alfonso 156 

Lobeira, Vasco 214 

Lodovisi, (Villa) 161 



Lodovisio, Cardinal • • • 138 
, D. Orazia, 

Duke of Fiano 149 

Logistilla 257 

Loredano, Pier, Doge of 

Venice • 260 

Lorenzo de Medici • • • • 6 

Louis XI. 153 

XIII. 152 

XV. 29 

Lucia, St. 255 

Lucian 108 

Lucretia 206 

Lunettes, (Spectacles, 

invention of) 300 

Luther 91 

Luzzasco 104 


Macchiavelli, Countess 

Orsolo 258 

Madama, Villa 284 

Magica, Naturalis 300 

Magliabecchi 153 

Majolino, Dottor 51 

Maitre, J. G. le 116 

INIalebranche 85 

Malone, Edmond 44 

Mancini 27 

Mandeville 75 

Mandovi, Cardinal 261 

Manfredi, Prince 23 


Mantua, Duke of 118 

Manuzio Paolo 247 

Maphaei 145 

Margaret de Valois 292 

of France 108 

Margarita, Infante of 

Savoy 278 

, Madama • • 285 

Maria de Medici, Queen 

of France 160 

Mariana • 135 

Marianera 118 

Marillac, Mareshal de. • 108 
Marini, Jean Baptiste- • 35 

Marino 28 

Matilda, Countess 8 

Maximilian, Emperor- • 260 
Mayer, Jaques, (Mar- 

chand Libraire) 122 

Mazarin, Cardinal 152 

Mazzini 283 

M'Gill, Mr. ........ . 257 

Mebius 80 

Medici, Cardinal Giulio 

de 285 

, Cardinal Ippo- 

lito de 184 

, Catherine de • • 261 

, Maria de 17 

Melampodio, Falcidio- 38 
Melfi, Prince of Genoa 146 

Menage 25 

Mercoeur, Due de • • • • 19 




Mercenniis 105 

Mertz, Raimond, Mar- 

chand Libraire 122 

Metastasio 281 

Mezerai 17 

Michael, St. (Order of) 260 

Michelagnolo 191 

Milton, John 81 

Mirandola, Pico di 34 

Modana, Giulio da • • • • 104 

Montaigne 73 

Montalto, Cardinal 224 

Monte, Cardinal del • • 224 
Montecuccoli, Frances- 
co 174 

Moreri 139 

Morhofio, Daniel Geor- 

gio • 109 

Bludo, El • 107 

Murasana, Girouima • • 244 

Muratori 1 

Mureti 93 

Muretus, M.A. 247 

Murtola 115 

Muzio, Girolamo 32 


N- Signor, Tassoni'^s 

Letter to 68 

Naudaeus, Gabriel • • • • 108 

Nenna, Pomponio 104 

Neri, S. Filippo 124 


Newton, Sir Isaac 240 

Nomisenti Falcidio 39 

Northumberland House 
Book 184 


Obizzo, Alesandro, Mar- 
quis of Este 15 

Oceano, L' 56 

Ocheda, Signor de 56 

Ongaro, Antonio 25 

Orestes 297 

Orlando 73 

Orsini, Cardinal 235 

Ouseley, Sir William • • 296 
Ozel, Translator of La 

Secchia Rapita • • • • 5 
Oziosi, Academia degli 300 

Paetus and Arria 261 

Paine, Thomas 236 

Paradise Lost 292 

Pasquini 281 

Pastor Fido 263 

Paul V. (Pope) 137 

Pavese, Lavilia 246 

Pelliciari, Gisraonda, 

Wife of Tassoni 2 

Pepe, Crescenzio 38 

Peri,JaGopo 223 




Perrault, M. Pierre • • • • 5 

Petrarca 21 

Phera^us, Alexander' • • 15 

Philip II. 107 

Phytognomonica 300 

Piccoloraini, Monsignor 237 

Pieries, Persian 296 

Pinacotheca, of G. V. 

Rossi 87 

Pindar 247 

Pinizzari, Nicolo, of Fer- 

rara 278 

Pinkard, Dr. 58 

Pio, Cardinal 1 27 

Plato 83 

Pliny 75 

Poetical Register 257 

Polinghera, Count of • • 118 

Poliziano 15 

Pomfret, Countess of • • 175 

Pope, Alexander 51 

Porta, Carlo 118 

Porta Giambatista 31 

Prato, Signor Gasparo 15 

Preti, Gioralomo 28 

Ptolemy 236 

Puflfendorf 86 

Pulci 44 

Purgatorio, of Dante- • 297 

Pye, Mr. 45 

Pyrgopolinices, of Plau- 

tus 207 



Quadrio 70 

Querenghi, Antonio • • • 46 

Quintilian 93 

Quixote, Don 217 

Rangoni, Marquis Ful- 

vio 173 

, Marquis Tad- 

deo 174 

Recanti 154 

Redi 6 

Renieri, Vineenzo 145 

Renoppia, in la Secchia 

Rapita 199 

Reubens 292 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua • • 95 
Ricci, Angiolo Maria- • 88 
Richelieu, Cardinal • • • 160 

Rinaldi, Oderic 126 

Rinnuccini, Ottavio- . . 17 

Riviere, la- • • » 141 

Robertson, Dr. 61, 

Romano Giulio 285 

Romney 293 

Roscoe, William f, 

Rose, Mr. 296 

Rossi, Giovanni Vitto- 

rio 87 



Kostrata, un Colomia, di 

Argento 291 

Rousseau, J. J. 92 

Rubbi, Abbate, of Ve- 

nice 165 

Ruggieri, Cosrae 19 

Ruggiei'O, il (a Poem) 248 
Ruggle's Ignoramus- • • • 301 
Rutilius 24 


Sade, Abbe de 34 

Sallust 108 

Salvator Rosa 45 

Salviani, Gasparo • • • • 4 

Salvini, Anton Maria • • 87 

Salvini 45 

Sanger, Egbert, (Prin- 
ter) 56 

Santiago 107 

Santoyo • • 107 

Sarpi, Padre Paolo 301 

Sassi, Canonico Anni- 

bale 23 

, Count Alfonso • • 134 

Savio, Gio 282 

Savoy, Cardinal of 149 

• , Duke of 118 

Scaglia, Abbate 137 

Scalandrone (in la Sec- 

chia Rapita) 199 

Scapinelli, Lodovico • • 205 

Scio, (a Tale) 257 

Scioppius, Jasper 126 

Scott, Mr. (his works of 

J. Dryden) 126 

Scribleriad 294 

Sebonde, Raimond de- • 92 

Secchia Rapita 2 

Secreti, Academia di • • 300 

Sepulveda 83 

Serassi 102 

Sermoni, of Chiabrera • 257 

Servetus 301 

Shakspeare, William- • • 255 

Shepherd, Mr. 258 

Sidney, Sir Philip 261 

Sidonia, Bishop of 20 

Smith, Charlotte 272 

Smith's Optics 80 

Soccino, of Genoa • • - • 134 

Socrates 83 

Sophocles 228 

Southey, Blr. 182 

Spencer 102 

Spider and File, by Hey- 

wood 295 

Speroni, Sperone 247 

Spina, A. (Monk of Pi- 
sa) 80 

Sprat's, (Royal Society) 30 
Sprat's Life of Cowley* 177 
Steele, Sir Richard-.. • 303 



Stefano, St. (Knights of 

the Order of) UTo 

Stephen, St. (Order of) 260 
Stigliani, Cavaliere Toni- 

maso 70 

Strozzi, Giambatista' • • 298 

Suetonius 108 

Sully, Duke of 139 

Swinburne 24 


Tacitus 108 

Talhouet, Jean 19 

Tamerlane 38 

Tasso, Torquato 60 

, , inedited 

Poem of 285 

Tassoni, Alessandro 1 

, Bernardino II. 2 

, Bonavere di'- • 1 

, Count Giulio 

Cesare 166 

, Fra Fulvio, Kt. 

of Malta 171 

, Fra Marco An- 
tonio 175 

. , Lucrezio 166 

, jMarzio 20 

, Pietro 1 

, Sigismonda, or 

Gismonda 2 

Temple, Sir William • • 132 
Tenhove, Monsr. • . . • 74 


Testi, Cavaliere 54 

, Fulvio 46 

Thalaba (a Poem by Mr. 

Southey) 182 

Theodoric, the Younger 8 

Thomson's Seasons 209 

Thuauus 86 

Tighe, William 168 

Timanthes 96 

Tiraboschi 1 

Todd, Rev. H.I. 58 

Trappolaria (a Comedy) 301 
Trefler, Marco, (Clock 

Maker) 239 

Trionfatore, il 16 

Trissino • • 189 

Tuscany, Grand Duke 

of 260 

Tytler, Mr. lOO 


Ulysses 75 

Uranio, (in Pastor Fido) 273 

Urban III. (Pope) 252 

VIII. (ditto) . . • 28 

Urbino, Raffaello de • • 285 


Varichi 10 

Vasi 138 

Vega, Lope de 36 

Vellutello 15 



Vercellino, Gio.Tincen- 

zo 256 

Verdizotti 289 

Verrau, Count of 118 

Vespusio Americo • • • • 74 
Vialardi, Francesco • • • 283 
Villifranchi, Giovanni • 70 
Vincenzo, Duke of Man- 
tua 251 

Virgil 70 

, ^n. lib. X. .... 252 

Vitrici, Monsignor - • • • 235 

Viviani 239 

Volffius 80 

Voltaire 60 



Wakefield, Rev. 

bert 236 

Waller, Edmond 18 


Walton 265 

Warcupp 9 

Warton, Dr. 4 

Wilson, (Painter) • • - • 285 
Wotton,Sir Henry .... 265 
Wright, Mr. 252 


Yriarte 226 


Zeno Apostolo 41 

Zenobia, Luigi 265 

, Queen 206 

Zephynis 94 

Zerlino 232 

Zoppio, Melchior 13 

Zouch, Dr. 126 

Zuccari • 161 



Oreville Street, Hatton Gaiden, London. 



^'^^ .^^^ 

■^/^o* y 

■^^ <P 

^^ - 



^A- V "^ &^^^rii - -" Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process 

■^ ^ » <^S^^^ .. - Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 

%^ -^ . \^ ^. !- ^^^^^ = <S "freatment Date: May 2008 

;.^ .0^ ;^ %,^^'TT^''^ .^^' PreservationTechnologies 


•X^ ^y .0fj^/^ -^ - r R 111 Thomson Park Drive 

Cranberry Township, PA 1( 
(724) 779-2111 


V \v 


cp- .'i:.:''^^ 



*'o kO^' ,#' 

'^mJ "^' \ ^°^^9j / ■ 



^^ ^^^ 

y ^V^J 


^ '^^ 

; «#f -"^ .\^'" % 

-.,^' j4«/*.;o ■% 


' ' '^ ' ,.\^^ . <« ^ ' 

'/'_ " -' N 

^ -Ta 

^X' •%. v^' y 


'' %. 

'"'C*. * !? I \ 

V vv ' " " /■ ^ 





^ ■' : ' /, C' 

/At ' 



1 ii 

I ill li 



'■ \MmMm